How about some good news today? I think we can all use some more positive stories, so here it goes. In 1993, Betty Ann Smothers was working two jobs to support her children. She was a police officer by day and security guard by night when she was murdered. Wait, I thought this was a good news story? It is. Betty Ann Smothers must have ignited something in her son – to work hard, be a good person, and to give back. Because her son Warrick Dunn grew up to be a fine man. At the young age of 18, having lost his mother, he took over the raising of his siblings. He went on to play football for Florida State and was a first round draft pick in the NFL. He had a very successful 11 year career in professional football, but that’s not what made him the hero of this blog. In 1997, Warrick started HFTH – Home for the Holidays, helping single mothers with first-time home ownership. Over these last 20 years, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, Warrick’s charity has given away 150 homes.
Which brings me to the 2nd part of this feel-good story. One of those families who benefitted from the generosity of Warrick’s off the field work was Deshaun Watson. In 2007, his mom and two siblings got the keys to a home sponsored by HFTH. This inspired Deshaun to live a courageous life as well. He went on to play football, quite successfully I might add. Last year he was the quarterback of the National Champion Clemson Tigers throwing for a record-breaking 420 yards in the championship game. He was drafted in the first round of the NFL by the Houston Texans and already has an NFL record to his name (most passing touchdowns by a rookie quarterback in a single game – 5.)
One more thing that makes this story so amazing. Deshaun donated his first game paycheck to three cafeteria workers who work at his home football stadium who were affected by Hurricane Harvey.
There are lots of things going on today that make us frustrated, angry, aggravated or worse. But, there are also a lot of great stories that make you have your faith in humanity restored. Thank you Warrick Dunn for your example of amazing philanthropy and for changing the lives of those 150 families over the last 20 years with your HFTH charity. Thank you Deshaun Watson for picking up the torch and showing immense heart. I can’t wait to see how you will inspire others.
From your always-happy-to-hear-inspiring-stories-motivational speaker, Marilyn Sherman