Two Carolina students, Charlotte Burnett and Karl Holt were recently named Tillman Scholars by the Pat Tillman Foundation.
The Pat Tillman foundation was founded in 2004, and invests in military veterans and their spouses through academic scholarships and financial aid.
The foundation honors the legacy of Pat Tillman, the NFL player turned Army Ranger who died in a friendly-fire incident in Afghanistan in 2004.
Karl Folt worked as a professional speaker and in finance prior to joining the military.
Holt enlisted in the Army when he was 29 years old and was a special forces medic stationed at Fort Bragg until he deployed to Afghanistan in 2009.
While on a mission in the western part of the country, his unit’s helicopter crashed from 800 feet.
Holt was the only medic on board, and treated 10 patients at the crash site despite a broken back and severely injured leg.
Holt’s recovery has included 32 surgeries in seven years.
When his injuries healed, Holt became an instructor at the Joint Special Forces Medics Training Center.
Holt is training to become a surgeon and hopes to work in critical care and trauma.
“I like helping people who just had the worst day of their life,” Holt said. “I think trauma can be the greatest gift in your life. It’s an opportunity to reset life. Something traumatic happens and everything that’s not important goes away. You realize what matters. The unimportant, frivolous aspects of life get thrown out the window.”
Prior to being an MBA student at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, Charlotte Burnett received a four-year ROTC scholarship at Wake Forest University, where she studied political science and international affairs.
After graduation, Burnett hopes to continue making a difference.
“To me, it means I am charged to do something more than just go to school and get an education for myself, but to continue to use my education as a way to effect change,” Burnett said.
After graduating in 2013, she was stationed at Fort Bragg, where she served as the human resources manager for the 97th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne) — a unit within Special Operations Command.
While there, Burnett co-founded Fort Bragg’s Women’s Mentorship Network, a program that helps in finding career opportunities for women.
UNC supports it’s veteran students in several ways including hosting Warrior-Scholar Project ‘boot camps’, providing assistance in finding financial aid and holding ‘Red, White, and Carolina Blue ‘ graduation ceremonies for veteran graduates.