LARGO, Fla. — A single mother of six children, five of whom have special needs, became a first-time homeowner through the Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties.
“This is life-changing,” Denard Span, who retired after 11 MLB seasons, said. “One of the most important things is to have reliable shelter.”
While Allison knew she was receiving the keys to her new home, she had no idea that former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Warrick Dunn and former Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Span teamed up to fully stock and furnish her home with over $10,000 worth of new furniture and electronics.
“I am super-overwhelmed,” Allison said. “I could not believe, I knew the house. I drove by the house, didn’t know anything else. Holy cow.”
She was also surprised with a new van customized for children’s special needs. Dunn took Allison to the garage where Span handed her the car keys.
“There was so much going on. I just saw a bunch of people. It didn’t click. I have a car, too?” Allison said.
This was the 182nd home given nationwide by Warrick Dunn Charities.
“My favorite part is when we hand the keys and walk through the door,” Dunn said. “When you see the expression and emotion, to me, that’s just priceless.”
Priceless is the work these athletes do away from the bright lights on the field.
“Why do I do this?” Span said. “Because my mom. She raised me to give back to others. Never forget where you came from.”
“The great thing about my situation, sports wasn’t my life,” Dunn said. “A lot of times, that’s all guys have is sports. For me though, it’s more about my family. When I lost my mom, that really became my focus.”
Allison’s focus is to now make this new house a home.
“What a great thing for my kids. I could have nothing, but as long as they are taken care of,” she said. “I know we are staying here forever.”