Profile of an AmeriCorps National Member: Edward McKinnon

Posted March 8th, 2017 by Angela

It’s AmeriCorps Week (March 4 – March 11, 2017) and we’re thrilled to introduce our two amazing AmeriCorps members who are serving with us in 2016-2017, Edward McKinnon and Gabrielle Bellamy. We’re sharing profiles from both members this week in support of AmeriCorps service. (Check out Gabrielle’s profile.)

We met up with AmeriCorps National member, Eddy, who is spending a year as a Construction Crew Leader working on our houses and leading volunteers and homebuyers on the job sites. He started with us in September 2016, and has been hard at work supporting construction department staff. Eddy is a terrific addition to the HabiJax construction team, and we’re glad to have this enthusiastic and energetic national member serving with us this year!

Where are you from? And, what did you study? I’m originally from Georgetown Guyana, however, I moved from Virginia to Jacksonville to serve. I studied at Hampton University School of Architecture. My family consists of my two sisters, father and loving mother, all of whom live in Virginia.

Why did you choose a year of service/the AmeriCorps program? I chose to do this current year of service so that I am able to grow as a leader and practice the level of detail to professionally run my own construction site.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the program? Biggest Challenge? My biggest challenge to date has been learning how to effectively manage large groups of people to a point where I can be happy with the quality of work that’s being produced, and also making everyone engaged in the experience HabiJax has to offer. My biggest accomplishment to date is getting quality work out of my volunteer group by being able to organize, teach and solve challenges as they come.

Do you have a story you can share that embodies the mission of the organization? I’ve witnessed volunteers that I worked with that have come back as regular volunteers as something they had on their bucket list, and felt I provided a great day to a young man that used the build day as sort of a bachelor party with his friends. I definitely have to say that when a group of high school students came out to do landscaping it was a challenge to wheelbarrow sod from the driveway all the way to the back yard, which was the biggest part of the job. They happily took on that challenge. But, by lunch had decided to call for help by reaching out to family and friends to make sure the job got done by the end of the day. To my surprise, the group doubled after lunch and the sod that I thought was too much, was finished before the volunteer day was done.

What do you like (or wish you could change) about your current role? As a person whose ambition is to professionally pursue construction as a career, I wish I could be more involved in the planning and scheduling process.

What do you love about living in Jacksonville? What are some of your favorite local hobbies, places of interest, etc.? In Jacksonville the weather is great! I work 65+ hours a week so I guess I love the fact that there’s opportunity in Jacksonville for anyone who wants it. I also like that I tend to meet a lot of interesting people while working.

What do you hope to accomplish by the end of your service year? At the end of this year, I would like enhance my attention to detail to a professional level.

What do you see yourself doing after service? When I do accomplish the above personal goal for myself, I believe that will enable me to make my next career move as a construction site manager or something along those lines.

Would you recommend service to someone? Why or why not? I would definitely recommend doing a year of service. I think it’s a great way to learn and to teach, which has helped me understand that as a leader you must be able to present information in many different ways.

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