It has been 10 years since Warrick Dunn, Tamba Bay Buccaneer’s former running back retired from professional football. But the 44-year-old ex-NFL player has found a way to bring happiness to the households of Florida. Dunn’s non-profit partnered with Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties and donated their 173rd home to single mother, LaToya Reedy. She’s now officially a homeowner!
Reedy worked as a certified nursing assistant, but her job can barely sustain the family’s bills, especially rent. Their previous home’s rent went up every month, forcing the family to find a cheaper place to live. She found a small house where she and her son, AnTrez, took turns on who would sleep on the bed. The family of five only shared one bathroom. For Reedy, owning a home became a pipe dream.
Latoya’s dreams finally came true on Tuesday morning. Dunn and his nonprofit bestowed Latoya and her son, a fully-furnished two-bedroom home in St. Petersburg. Pinellas and West Pasco Counties’ Habitat for Humanity purchased an empty lot and built the house from scratch. Furniture company Aaron’s donated $10,000 worth of furniture and appliances, including interior design. Meanwhile, healthcare provider, Cigna gave $10,000 for down payment assistance and groceries.
Latoya was among the hundreds of single mothers Dunn helped find their way to a new home. When Dunn was 17, his mother was killed. He had to step up and be the man of the house while pursuing his professional football career. “I’ve used this program as therapy. Every time I hand over those keys, there’s a little piece of my mom and the thing she wanted,” Dunn said in an interview with Bleacher Report.
In his rookie year in the NFL, his coach challenged him to give back to the community. Dunn accepted the challenge willingly, and he first thought of his mother’s unfulfilled dream of owning a home. In 1997, he was able to give three homes when he started the Homes for the Holidays program. In 2004, Dunn won the 2004 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, an award honoring a player’s volunteer and charity work.
When the new homeowner saw the inside of her new home, Reedy was struggling to fight the tears. She couldn’t contain the surge of emotions and gratitude in front of her family and friends.
“Being a homeowner now, I can be at home,” said Reedy. “I can be at peace. I can bring sweet memories to my house, and I can have my family and friends over. I have a home now, and that’s something I’ve always wanted for my son and for myself.”
Even before Reedy received her new home, she volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, completing 350 hours building home for others. She was able to give 50 hours more than the required hours of service. It was a complete surprise when she became a homeowner herself—she didn’t expect fully-furnished home.
The former Buc leaves a baked apple pie—her mother’s favorite dessert to every homeowner they help. It was the cherry on top in Dunn’s heroic gesture. Dunn’s mom would have baked it herself.
Watch the video below witness witness how LaToya Reedy became a new homeowner: