Saturday, November 19, 2011

'Tis The Season - Warrick Dunn Family Foundation

Today was amazing.  

If you follow my blog you know about my involvement with Habitat.  This year our firm completed its 14th house and I've had the chance to get to know some wonderful homeowners but this year's homeowner was exceptional. 
Olivia signing the closing papers
Atlanta Habitat homeowners are required to take a year of classes with Habitat, put in 250 build hours and part of this time must be spent helping other homeowners.   Habitat homeowners work hard to achieve home ownership.  This year working with our homeowner I was often amazed with her.  We would get to the work site about 7:30 a.m. to unload the truck and start the work day.  At 4:00 when the work day ended, I generally came home to shower and take a nap.  But not our homeowner.  Olivia, a single mother of three, would head home to cook and feed the kids before heading off to work a night shift as a healthcare worker.  Every Saturday I would think to myself, I don't know how she finds the energy.  

Well today was incredible.  Each year the Warrick Dunn Family Foundation selects two deserving Atlanta Habitat families and the foundation in partnership with Aaron'sCOMPLETELY furnishes the homes and makes a substantial down payment so that the homeowner has very little to pay on their home.  Recipients of the Homes for the Holidays program requires that the homeowner must be a single mom.  Warrick Dunn began this tradition to honor the memory of his mom, a single mother of six children, who was killed when Warrick, the oldest child, was only 18.  

This morning many of us who built the house were asked to be there at 8:30 for the SURPRISE REVEAL.  Olivia had  no idea and thought she was coming to sign the closing papers.  As we waited for her car to pull up,  we were trying to figure out if she would scream or cry, or both.   Having worked with her for so many weeks, I knew her sweet and quiet nature and I was sure that she would sob.  She did, but she wasn't alone.  There were very few dry eyes in the crowd.  

We were asked not to take pictures as the event was a very personal moment with the family and Warrick Dunn put his heart into making sure that it was treated as such.  It was about Olivia and her beautiful family.  It was especially nice that Arthur Blank and two of his children came out to support Warrick and congratulate Olivia.   
Olivia finally signed the closing papers and we did take picture of that very special moment.   And Arthur Blank stopped for a picture so that I could send it to my Falcons loving son.  


  1. Ah Cheryl THIS is what Thanksgiving and Christmas are all about. Thank you for posting such an uplifting true story of hard work, faith and generosity. God Bless Warrick Dunn!

  2. Cheryl what a wonderful organization and your participation is admired by me and many others. This warms my heart. hugs, Linda

  3. What an inspiring and touching story, Cheryl! What wonderful work those organizations do...and you as well, my friend! Have a happy Thanksgiving!...hugs...Debie

  4. Fantastic, what a wonderful story. Thank goodness for people like you who give so much.
    Happy weekend

  5. You are involved in so many wonderful, caring, worthwhile and important things----I LOVE HABITAT! That must have been quite a moment at the "reveal".....Thanks for sharing this inspiring and Heartwarming story about the love of Humanity and how it is acted out in such a positive fantastic way....!!

  6. What a beautiful post about a well deserving and beautiful woman, and an amazing foundation with a story that I was unaware of! I also sadly lost my Dad to a violent crime when I was 18, and in his honor this Thanksgiving I'm going to make a donation to the Warrick Dunn Family Foundation. Thank you for bringing their work to everyone's attention, and thank you for all you do to help HABITAT build houses. You are one of the unsung heroes!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Cheryl.

  7. What a wonderful, wonderful story. Your work is so meaningful. I'm so happy for Olivia and know that her life is changed because of people like you, and Habitat, and the Warrick Dunn Family Foundation.

    This is love in action. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Cheryl.

  8. What a wonderfully heartwarming way to lend a helping hand, Cheryl! "Love in Action" is better way than to help those in need to help themselves & then, others down the line.

    Blessings on all those involved!
    Warm Hugs for a bountiful Thanksgiving Day,

  9. I know this well....daughter does the closings for the Habitat people up in NYC......and John used to work with Arthur Blank up at the corporate office!!
    Such a wonderful organization....

  10. That is such a wonderful organization. I didn't know you did that - but I am not surprised at all. sandie

  11. Wonderful organization! You are an advocate for so many wonderful causes.
    Best wishes for a splendid Thanksgiving.

  12. This is so great! I am so proud of you for being a part of it. What a great example you are!
    Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for your visit. I have the diabetes under control and crossing my fingers all will be ok.

  13. Wonderful program. A truly great thing. Hope you had a good turkey day.

  14. Thank you for helping others dreams come true!