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Former NFLer Donates 173rd Home: This Is 'Therapy'

Warrick Dunn's mom was killed when he was 18; his mission has been to help single parents
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2019 9:14 AM CDT
Former NFL player Warrick Dunn speaks a mental health symposium hosted by the NFL, NFL Players Association, and Cigna at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center on May 14, 2018, in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

(Newser) – After struggling through some recent hard times that led her to move back in with her mother, LaToya Reed and her 18-year-old son, AnTrez, received a most welcome gift on Tuesday: a fully furnished two-bedroom home in St. Petersburg, Fla. The house offering was thanks to a partnership between Habitat for Humanity and Warrick Dunn Charities, a nonprofit started by former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Warrick Dunn. This isn't the first single parent who's received a home from the charity: The Tampa Bay Times notes it's the 173rd. "Being a homeowner now, I can be at home," Reedy gushes about her new abode, which also came with a stocked pantry and gift cards to Publix.

It's because Dunn understands what Reedy has been through that his charity got started in the first place: He explains to People that right before he turned 18, his own single mom, 36-year-old police officer and security guard Betty Smothers, was shot to death during a robbery, leaving Dunn to care for his five siblings. "You have no choice but to mature," he says. "It wasn't just about going to school and playing football anymore. My life became about five people." And so he kick-started this philanthropic effort as a tribute to his very own "superwoman," making sure to leave in every donated home a surprise treat: an apple pie, which was Smothers' favorite. "I've used this program as therapy," Dunn tells the Times. "Every time I hand over those keys, there's a little piece of my mom and the things she wanted." (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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