Student on a mission to help other veterans


Tara Olivia Martens

Brad Burt visits with a street musician during one of rounds visiting people along State Street in an attempt to connect with veterans who tend to frequent the area

Tara Olivia Martens, Staff Writer

Veterans Day is a day that brings feeling of gratitude, reverence, and sorrow from the loss of loved ones who served for the United States.

For student Bradley Burt, being a veteran and a full-time student remains a mission to set an example and encourage veterans to stay connected to society and thrive.

Burt started college in 2017 and found he had to overcome and address obstacles that were holding him back in his academic career.

Burt is a non-traditional student who has seen firsthand the problems facing our veteran community, especially for vets who go on to make use of the GI Bill.

“Housing instability, drug rehabilitation treatments, and suicide are real concerns for our veterans,” explained Burt.

Burt is concerned for all soldiers who come back lost or without direction, even for those who have left the army on a dishonorable discharge. These soldiers can be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder brought on by war that without proper treatment can become devastating for these American heroes.

Each week before attending class on campus, Burt goes out of his way to park his car and walk “The Beat.”

“The Beat” is a path on State Street starting at the Capitol and ends down at the Library Mall where Burt is on a search and rescue mission to contact veterans who tend to circulate in this specific area.

Through partnership with the Wisconsin American Legion Press Association as well his affiliation with “Adopt-A-Platoon” and Post 501, Burt not only provides a listening ear, but an array of resources to veterans.

Using the app, “PTSD Coach,” Burt is able to encourage veterans to download this app especially in times of crisis as this app gives guidance on how to overcome panic attacks and encourage self-care.

Panic attacks are a common symptom of PTSD, and the PTSD Coach app can be useful for addressing mental health awareness.

Burt has directed a number of veterans to free resources that provide housing and legal services to the veteran community.

PTSD is associated with a certain type of stigma that denotes instability or loss and Burt is inspired to help veterans assemble as a team and help other fellow veterans in need.

Burt has created an advocacy brand known as John Q. Battlefield that he is able to reach out with to veterans across the world and bring a message of comradery and hope.

With a hectic schedule of classes at Madison College and UW-Whitewater, Burt finds contentment in the practice of writing therapy which extends to his endeavors completing the Journalism Certificate Program at Madison College.

Burt’s advice for anyone dealing with anxiety or panic attacks is to make time for writing.

“Blog, tweet, fast write, brainstorm, purge your thoughts,” says Burt. 

The combination of writing and learning are the magic beans of recovery for Burt.

As Burt continues his studies at Madison College as well as UW-Whitewater, he is careful to stay connected to the veteran directed organization, Veterans Integration Transitional Academic Leadership (VITAL).

For Burt, VITAL made the difference of remaining successful at college, continuing self-care practices, and avoiding self-harm.

Burt’s advice to veterans is to check in each day with their professors, classes, and support network.

More resources on veteran assistance can be found by calling The National Call Center for Homeless Veterans:1-877-4AID VET (877-424-3838).

Other resources that Burt advocates for is and the FaceBook page John Q Battlefield where veterans can find support.