UW Health Sports Medicine 

Lucas at Large: Former Badger Barrett helping to rebuild 'shattered lives'

FB_110815_Dippel_Tyler.jpgThe C.O.P.S. were waiting for UW coach Bret Bielema after Saturday morning's practice at the McClain Center. They had the passageway to the ramp and locker room blocked.

But a smiling, gracious Bielema was in no hurry to avoid them.

Instead, he warmly greeted the C.O.P.S. and introduced the group of kids, young adults and moms and dads to the Badger football players, who came over to mingle and sign autographs.

C.O.P.S. is the acronym for Concerns Of Police Survivors, an organization that assists in "rebuilding shattered lives'' of surviving families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

That's the mission statement of the national organization, which was established in 1984.

Besides providing resources for family members and affected co-workers, C.O.P.S. provides training to law enforcement agencies on survivor issues and education to the public.

Representing the Wisconsin chapter of C.O.P.S. was Kalvin Barrett, who was one of the event coordinators for Saturday's meet-and-greet with the Badgers, tour of the facilities and luncheon.

Barrett, a Dane County deputy sheriff, wore jersey No. 58 when he played at Wisconsin.

That was many pounds ago.

Today's slimmed-down Barrett bears no physical resemblance to the 319-pound nose tackle and offensive guard who earned four letters for the Badgers from 2000 through 2004.

But the infectious Barrett smile is still present; linking then and now.

"Obviously when I was here I wanted to be in the NFL like everyone else,'' said Barrett, a native of Spring Valley, Calif., who started six games at right guard in '01 and two at left guard in '02.

When his pro dreams didn't materialize, Barrett fell back on his education. For a couple of years, he worked as a recruiter for Kaye Bassman International, an executive recruiting firm in Dallas, Texas.

Following that stint, Barrett wound up teaching seventh and eighth grade science in a Dallas suburb. He also helped coach the football and wrestling teams.

Less than three years ago, Barrett moved back to the Madison area and began working in the Dane County Sheriff's Office. He couldn't be happier, either.

"I love that I'm in law enforcement,'' he said, "and I have the ability to help people and make a difference in the community through events like this one.''

Barrett can relate to C.O.P.S. on a personal basis.

When he was 12, he lost his father -- a San Diego County marshal.

"When I was 12 or 13 or 14, I would have loved to have an opportunity to get together and socialize with other people who were in a similar situation,'' Barrett said.

In addition to other things, Barrett added, C.O.P.S. can help fill a void in a single-parent home. Again, he can reflect on first-hand experience. After his father died, he was raised by his mom, Teresa.

More than anything, Barrett just wants to give back to others. If he could start his own nonprofit, the mission statement would be along the lines of "To do great things for great people.''

"I realized that I've been blessed,'' he said, "and I have an opportunity to make a difference, why not do it? People look at me and say, 'You played for the Badgers, you can make a difference.'''

That's what he and others were doing Saturday.

"Look at the excitement and the smiles on their faces,'' he said pointing to the youngsters. "They've been provided with a special day that these kids will remember for the rest of their lives.''

You got the impression that Barrett wouldn't soon forget, either.