Master Cpl. Mike “Megatron” Trauner may have lost his legs while on foot patrol in Afghanistan.
But he stood tall on the steps of Parliament Hill Saturday morning.
Trauner accepted the To the Top Canada Award for 2011.
“To become a better person, I had to suffer quite a bit,” he said.
Two years ago, Trauner was on foot patrol investigating Taliban activity west of Kandahar. An IED went off, shooting him six feet in the air.
His legs were blown off.
Trauner’s left leg was amputated above the knee. His right leg was amputated below the knee.
His left arm had three broken bones. His left hand had 25 broken bones.
Trauner died twice on the operating table, but he was brought back to life for a reason: to inspire Canadians.
He walked the entire 5 km Army Run alone, after a doctor told him his ultimate goal would be walking 500 metres with two canes.
“If I quit, I’d have to kick my own butt,” he said.
He also raised $70,000 for the Ottawa Rehabilitation Centre, where he learned to walk again, with support from Dr. Nancy Dudek.
“She always believed in me, and she always pushed me really really hard to go,” he said.
Trauner was nominated for the award, described as ‘the Heisman Trophy of positive citizenship’, by his 12-year-old niece, Sara Sylvestre.
“Seeing him receive this is amazing. Seeing him show the world that he can use his determination and all his skills and show the world that he can accomplish the unaccomplishable,” said Sylvestre, who’s from Pembroke.
Her face filled with pride as she watched her uncle Mike take photos with the award, mounted on a Huron snowshoe.
Trauner’s dad, Gerald, drove six hours from Sudbury to see the presentation for his son.
“He’s a remarkable young man, does me proud everyday,” he said.
Gerald Trauner said his son was raised to always give it his best shot.
And he never gave up the will to live.
“I still want to be a normal person. I still want to represent my country. I just want to be a soldier,” Trauner said.
The Sudbury native lives in Petawawa and could return to the Hill sooner than later –Trauner said he’s very interested in entering politics when he’s done with the military.