VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Retired Chief Warrant Officer Shane Mott fought for our freedom and made unity his mission.
"A lot of people don't understand the importance of cultural acceptance and inclusion, and how vital it is to being a part of a cohesive and operational team," Mott said.
"There are things that we can always integrate to help make things better for people on Planet Earth."
Mott said he joined the Navy on June 5, 1997, to expand his view of the world.
"There's always more. There's more," Mott said.
"Whether it's people, humanity, culture, life, earth. I mean, there's just... there's always more."
Mott spent more than two decades serving the country and fostering a work environment free of discrimination.
Over the years, Mott served as a mentor and held weekly trainings on cultural diversity.
In 2013, he was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for his work as equal opportunity manager of the more than 8,000 sailors onboard USS George H.W. Bush.
"Every person that's next to you, you're trusting them with your life while you're out to sea," Mott said.
"And when you're in that situation, it doesn't matter what race or gender or sex or religion, national origin. None of those matter when you're relying on that person."
In his new chapter, Mott is an international student, pursuing five master's degrees online from universities in the U.S., England, and India.
"The military became my platform to go bigger, to start working more on a global mentality... and work on my education," Mott said.
He plans to become a greater agent of change not only abroad, but for his family here at home. Mott said his wife, daughter and five sons are his motivation.
"I don't know how to do it for myself," Mott said. "But having like, the littles running around, it just-- you wake up and it's like, okay, I need to do this."
Mott hopes to one day work with the United Nations to further his mission of diplomacy.