Thursday, February 21st

The slogan "It's not just a job, it's an adventure" was designed to lure people to join the U.S. Navy. And for Mary Kolar, it worked.

In 1980, Kolar was about to graduate with a degree in marketing from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and was thinking about her future.

Her father, who died when she was 2, had served in the Navy. Her two older brothers were in the Navy and though she had talked to an Army recruiter while still in high school, the Wilton native ultimately decided on the Navy.

She didn't know her decision almost four decades ago would ultimately lead her to become Wisconsin's first female Department of Veterans Affairs secretary. A date for Kolar's confirmation hearings has not yet been set.

Her parents married at the Brooklyn Naval Yard while her father was serving in the Navy. When she was growing up, Kolar often accompanied her mother to Fort McCoy where her mom worked in food service.