Heroes Cultivate Hope


Volunteers are the foundation of Habitat’s mission. Their passion and energy sustain our determination to see Chicago families and neighborhoods thrive.  On Wednesday, March 30th, the Habitat Chicago family gathered at Habitat Heroes, a Volunteer Appreciation & Awards Event to celebrate the accomplishments of our volunteers over the past year and highlight the impact of a few volunteers who have gone above and beyond. Take a look at this year’s Habitat Heroes: 


The Construction Hero - a build-site volunteer who has provided consistent and impactful work each time on the build site and has also brought other volunteers closer to the Habitat Chicago mission.

The Winner - John Goebelbecker. 
The reason - John builds home. In the last three months alone, John has volunteered on the build site five times and works diligently to ensure that every single volunteer welcome and aware that they are a valued member of the Habitat Chicago family. Best of all, he always brings new people with him, ensuring the growth of our mission. 


The ReStore Hero - someone who has provided consistent and dependable work at ReStore Chicago and also has formed genuine connections with customers and volunteers, bringing them closer to the Habitat mission. 

The Winner - Marilee Ciello. 
The Reason – Marilee sustains our mission. Her keen eye for fair market value has made her an invaluable part of our team and we rely on Marilee to not only help us keep the store organized but also to help us identify merchandise that is not selling because of a high price. She has also been a creative resource for us by helping to plan and execute craft tables at various events. 


The Community United Hero - a volunteer who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to strengthening the Habitat Chicago focus neighborhood. 

The Winners - Eya Louis and Cyndi Stewart (We cheated and picked two – we had to!) 
The Reason - Eya & Cyndi strengthen our neighborhoods.  As residents of West Pullman, Eya and Cyndi have been critical in shaping Habitat Chicago’s work by guiding the development of our Neighborhood Engagement committee and leading and supporting plans and projects at our monthly Community Action Group meetings. Together, they created the organization S.O.U.L., through which they teach their neighbors how to live sustainably and comfortably. 


The Partner in Hope – Community Hero - an organization that has proven a wide embrace of strengthening the Habitat Chicago focus neighborhood. 

The Winner - Churches United. 
The Reason - Churches United grows community. Through their work forming and supporting Block Clubs, providing Habitat Chicago with the connections and authority to engage the community in repairs and community meetings, and working with area youth to provide meaningful and fun camp programming, Churches United has been instrumental in unifying West Pullman and embody what it means to do more together. 


The Partner in Hope – Corporate Hero is an organization that has demonstrated a company-wide embrace of the Habitat Chicago mission and has provided exceptional support to our affiliate. 

The Winner - Exelon/ ComEd 
The Reason - Exelon/ ComEd cultivates hope. In the midst of a multi-year partnership, sponsoring three homes, Exelon is an organization that we are proud to call true partners. There is an undeniable authenticity to their generosity, as evidenced by their frequent outpouring of volunteers to the build site. They care; they show up; they believe.  


The Rising Hero is a volunteer who has recently begun working with Habitat Chicago. In this short time, he/she has embodied our core values, personalized and strengthened the Habitat Chicago mission, and has demonstrated a passion for getting more deeply involved.

The Winner - Shea Brown. 
The Reason - Shea brightens the future. In an incredibly short amount of time, Shea took one of our long-dormant hopes and made it a reality— a Habitat Chicago young professionals board, known as the Habitat Emerging Leaders. The vision, excitement, and persistence that Shea has brought to this endeavor has wowed us all and we cannot wait to see what she will do next.


The Committee Hero is a dedicated and invested committee member who has gone above and beyond his/her basic committee duties in support of the Habitat Chicago mission. 

The Winner - Brian Haynes 
The Reason - Brian fosters progress.  a member of our Neighborhood Engagement Committee and a leader of the Vacant and Abandoned Properties Project Team, who is developing a mobile app that acts as a verification system for far south side residents to report and confirm information on properties in their community. 


The Golden Hammer is awarded to a volunteer who has made a sustainable, innovative, and long-term impact for the Habitat Chicago mission through a significant contribution of time, knowledge, and expertise. 

The Winner - Karen Meehan.
The Reason - Karen deepens impact. One of our lawyers from the incomparable Gould & Ratner, Karen and her team have worked closely with families over the past several years to close on their homes – a typically long, monotonous process, Karen brings joy, happiness, and relief to families as they take the final steps towards owning their own home. 


Volunteers breathe life into Habitat’s mission. They build home. They sustain growth. They cultivate the hope that one day, every single Chicagoan will have a decent place to live.

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