The Colonel at work at a wall raising.

Don Graesser, also known as the Colonel, has been an integral and indispensable member of the volunteer weekday crew for many years. Records show he has volunteered for over 10,000 hours on Habitat homes in Bryan and College Station. But the actual number is probably considerably higher.

Don is a West Point graduate and retired Army Lt. Colonel. He became a regular member of the volunteer weekday crew while Sharon’s Court, Habitat’s second subdivision in Bryan, was under construction. He generally puts in the attic stairs for Habitat homes and installs interior and exterior doors, shelves and rods. But he can and will do anything that’s needed.

Jim Davis, Habitat’s Property Director, recently recalled a time Don was volunteering a number of years ago. His hand was gripping a saw horse when he accidentally shot that hand with a nail gun. As that hand was stuck to the saw horse, he used his other hand to get out his cell phone and call one of the other weekday crew members to come help. Once they got his hand free, Don wrapped it up and wanted to go back to work. The others had to make him go the emergency room!

Unfortunately Don’s health has kept him from the job site for a few weeks. “I really miss that guy,” Chad Einkauf, Habitat Construction Supervisor, said. “I had no idea how much work he did until he wasn’t around.” We all hope he gets well soon and can come back.

Recognizing Don as a volunteer of the month is a grossly inadequate award. His contributions and consistent dedication are impossible to quantify or recognize adequately. But the impact he has had on hundreds of families is substantial, and his example of selfless service is both humbling and inspiring to the rest of us. Thank you Colonel.