Posted 8 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020

Jane Brannan, UWL's veteran’s education benefits coordinator and a former Lt. Col. in the United States Army, is being honored through the Habitat for Humanity of Wisconsin's "Her Story" project. The project honors and highlights Wisconsin women who have served in our nation's armed forces.

Brannan honored for her career of service

Jane Brannan is being honored for serving her country and community through the Habitat for Humanity of Wisconsin’s “Her Story” project.

Brannan, the veteran’s education benefits coordinator at UWL, is responsible for helping veterans and their families transition from military life to university life. She assists veterans with applications, transferring military credits and signing up for military education benefits.

Habitat’s “Her Story” project is a statewide effort to honor and highlight Wisconsin women who have served in our nation’s armed forces.

“Throughout the years, I had the opportunity to work in different areas of the United States and overseas,” says Brannan, who rose to the rank of Lt. Col. “I also got to work with some really amazing and talented people. I really enjoyed that sense of teamwork, being a part of something much bigger than myself.”

Brannan served in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011, as part of the U.S. Army’s communications unit. Her team was responsible for integrating communications between the United States and its NATO partners.

When she left the military after 27 years of service, she went through a lot of adaptations on her journey back into civilian life. She recalls responding to her boss’ emails with military slang such as “wilco” — which means “got it” or “will do” — but her supervisors weren’t familiar with that vocabulary.

Brannan also missed the opportunity to serve others. She began to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity after seeing an ad for Neighbors Day, a program in which volunteers work with their neighbors to do yard work for elderly and disabled community members.

“I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to serve (in the military) for that long,” Brannan notes. “But I can also continue to serve the community. I can help students at our university, and through Habitat for Humanity, I can help individuals find safe and affordable housing. That means a lot to me.”

Brannan has participated in three Veterans Builds and Neighbors Days, and she’s proud of the way she has used her skills to uplift her community. She says her time serving Habitat for Humanity embodies exactly what she loves most about the Army: camaraderie among peers working together for the common good.