DuPage Habitat for Humanity Veteran Receives Habitat Hero Award
A full-time construction volunteer for DuPage Habitat honored with award at Habitat for Humanity Illinois State Conference.
On Saturday, November 10th, a DuPage Habitat for Humanity full-time construction volunteer was honored with a new Habitat Hero award at the 2018 Habitat for Humanity of Illinois State Conference. Edward “E.J.” Trautner is a current AmeriCorps member and veteran who received the new award dubbed “Habitat Hero – Outstanding Service to Our Country.”
E.J. started out as a walk-on volunteer for DuPage Habitat at a deconstruction site. After a while, he became one of the most trusted, reliable volunteers on every build. Eventually, DuPage Habitat asked E.J. to consider joining AmeriCorps for a summer term as a way to further his involvement. Through AmeriCorps, E.J. could volunteer full-time, yet be compensated with a living allowance. He loved the experience so much that he signed on for a year-long term immediately after the summer.
E.J.’s life leading up to his AmeriCorps service with DuPage Habitat was not always easy. In 2006, while serving with the Army 630th Police Squad, a sniper shot E.J. in the right eye and left him with incredible damage to that side of his face. Despite this overwhelming trauma, E.J. persevered. He found ways to fill his time and embrace his new life as a wounded veteran. He volunteered once with DuPage Habitat, and ended up finding a home.
At the conference luncheon where E.J. received the Habitat Hero award, E.J. received a standing ovation from all in attendance, including an Honor Guard from VFW Post 5520.