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Former Bucs’ running back Warrick Dunn gives away another home

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Once again, Warrick Dunn has scored.

Dunn, the former Bucs’ running back who has devoted much of his life to charity, presented his 155th home Thursday morning to Keyona Thompson, the mother of six children – three of them with medical or mental disabilities. The home, in St. Petersburg, is a six-bedroom, two bath with wheelchair accommodations is the latest from a non-profit charity from Dunn. The home is furnished by Aaron’s.

“I can’t find the words to describe how I feel today,” said Thompson. “It’s an overwhelming feeling to be a first-time homeowner and to have the support of this community. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!”

With 20 years of experience helping single-parent families achieve affordable homeownership,  Dunn understands the challenges many families face. Dunn remembers similar obstacles from his childhood as his mother worked to achieve homeownership. Her dream of homeownership was never achieved, however, after her murder while working as an off-duty police officer in Baton Rouge, Dunn parlayed the funds received upon her death into the first home for him and his five siblings.

Dunn made news in the fall when it was reported that Clemson running back Deshaun Watson had lived in a home donated by Dunn.

In her previous home, Thompson not only lacked space for her large family but like many who live on the edge of poverty, the apartment was in substandard condition due to a leaky roof. Despite her long record of successful employment, homeownership was out of reach without help.

“According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, one full-time worker earning minimum wage cannot afford the local fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the U.S.,” said Dunn. “With the help of partners like Habitat, Publix and Aaron’s, Warrick Dunn Charities works to help single-parents avoid the pitfalls of not only securing homeownership but also understanding the systems around the process. Assistance with the down payment means a smaller mortgage, furnishing the home means less credit card debt, stocking the pantry means healthier food choices and having a safe and stable home base improves the lives of not just the family but the community as well. And because they are required to learn about personal finance and mortgages, they are educated about how it all works. All of us doing our part helps chip away at the significant problem of affordable housing.”

“We’re proud to continue our partnership with Warrick Dunn Charities’ Homes for the Holidays program, which is dedicated to providing single parents like Keyona with homes so they can have a safe and stable space to raise their families,” said John Robinson, CEO of Aaron’s, Inc. “Aaron’s has a longstanding tradition of giving back to communities across the country and we’re so pleased that these furnishings will be able to help make a difference in the Thompsons’ lives for years to come.”

In a 12-year NFL career, Dunn gained 10,967 yards.

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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