BY: Julie Montanaro
November 22, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Former Nole and NFL great Warrick Dunn is famous for racking up yards with the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Now, he's teaming up with Habitat for Humanity and Aaron's to achieve another lifelong goal.
On Wednesday, Dunn helped to make the dream of home ownership a reality for two single mothers in Tallahassee. We were there as Dunn handed over the keys.
It's all in the name of his own mother - a police officer and single mom - who always wished for her own home, but didn't live to see it. She was shot and killed when Dunn was just 18.
"I can't get these keys in," Maria Wright said with a laugh.
"I mean ... Are you okay?" Warrick Dunn asked.
Maria Wright was so nervous she couldn't even unlock the door. Dunn did it for her.
The mother of three teens gasped as she walked in and got her first glimpse inside her new home.
"It was such a surprise I had no idea," she said. "I felt like I wanted to faint."
"It's beautiful," she said as she went from room to room.
The house on McArthur Street is fully furnished and its down payment is paid thanks to a $5,000 check from the record-setting running back.
"I mean that's what it's about right? Helping people who are trying to help themselves," Dunn said. "So this will never get old. This is my mom's dream to own her own home and not being able to experience that, for me this is therapy. I'm able to witness all these families live their lives and move forward and progress."
India Williams and her three children were getting the same royal treatment right next door.
"Check it out," Dunn said as he opened the refrigerator door to reveal fully stocked shelves.
"Oh my," Williams said shaking her head.
"To be able to provide stability for your children is everything," Williams said. "I'm just ... like ... is this really happening right now? I'm so excited and so grateful to God."
"Do your kids have any idea they just got a high five from one of the most famous football players ever?"
"No. They have no idea," Williams said with a laugh. "No clue."
These homes are numbers 156 and 157 for Dunn. He's been giving away homes for 20 years, but last year the story made headlines nationwide when Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson shared the story of his family receiving one back in 2006.