Council honours Invictus champion Mike Trauner
Sean Chase/Daily Observer Petawawa Mayor Bob Sweet presents Mike Trauner with a certificate of recognition congratulating him for winning two golds medals for indoor rowing and cycling at the 2017 Invictus Games. The former infantryman, who served with 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, was challenged to compete by Prince Harry, himself.
PETAWAWA – The town has honoured a retired soldier who recently won two gold medals at the recent Invictus Games in Toronto.
Master Cpl. Mike Trauner reached the top of the podium claiming gold in four-minute indoor rowing and also captured gold in the one-minute sprint. Trauner was one of three athletes from Garrison Petawawa who competed at the 2017 games in September.
Speaking to council after receiving a certificate of recognition from Mayor Bob Sweet, the former infantryman recounted how he had a long odyssey from barely surviving a near fatal roadside bomb in Afghanistan to represent Canada at Invictus.
On Dec. 5, 2008, Master Cpl. Trauner was serving with 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment when on a foot patrol to investigate Taliban activity west of Kandahar City when a remote detonated Improvised Explosive Device went off. The blast shot the soldier six metres in the air.
He had to be resuscitated twice, once at the scene of the explosion and again while on the operating table at Kandahar Air Field. The explosion robbed him of his left leg above the knee and his right leg below the knee. His left arm and hand suffered multiple fractures.
“The doctors didn't expect me to live at all but that didn't happen,” said Master Cpl. Trauner, who spoke of his experience with council. “There is probably a reason why I survived and I hope it is to go on and inspire others, to spread my message of kindness and love and also positively influence people in my community to better themselves. That is what I try to do even to this day.”
A doctor advised the soldier he could, at best, be able to walk 500 metres at a time using two canes. It was a diagnosis he refused to accept. During his rehabilitation, he drove himself to walk again. At the same time, he visited other soldiers and encouraged them. Within nine months, Master Cpl. Trauner walked five kilometres unassisted in The Army Run.
He memorably carried the Olympic Torch when it passed through CFB Petawawa in 2009. He was also chosen to raise the International Paralympic Committee flag during the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Paralympic Games. It was a chance meeting with Prince Harry, who personnally challenged the soldier to compete at Invictus, that sent Master Cpl. Trauner on the road to Invictus.
“I had to overcome a great deal of things to be on Team Canada,” he added. “I had to be the best soldier. I had to be the best athlete. I had to overcome my own disabilities and I had to put a positive spin on it for everybody in Canada.”
He credited the entire squad for coming together cohesively to do their best for the nation. During the presentation of the medals following his successful event, it was the man who is fifth in line to the British throne who did the honours
“That was an amazing moment,” said Master Cpl. Trauner. “He said he felt like a proud father because he inspired all of us to come here.”
While he reached a personal goal and met the challenge set out by Prince Harry, the soldier feels he honouring the memories of his fallen comrades.
“I don't wear the medals for me,” he remarked. “I wear them for the guys who game their life for this country and sacrificed everything. Remember one thing about war – everyone has to give something and those who didn't come home gave it all.”
Council also praised Master Cpl. Trauner and his wife, Leah, for volunteering with many organizations including Soldier On, Renos for Heroes, True Patriot Love Foundation, Camp Maple Leaf, the Ottawa Rehabilitation Centre and the Canadian Military Casualty Support Centre.
“I am proud that you are part of our community,” said Sweet. “It's been quite a journey but I feel bigger and better things are ahead of you. Your medals are very inspirational.”