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Dunn Honored for Significant Charitable Contributions to Single-Parent Families
Photo - Warrick Dunn
The Heisman Trophy Trust announced this week that they have selected former Florida St University and NFL running back Warrick Dunn as the fifth recipient of the Heisman Humanitarian Award. The award will be formally presented to Dunn at the 76th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Dinner on Dec. 13, 2010 in New York City.
Frank Coyle has been a Heisman Trophy voter the past 15 years. "Dunn is a perfect selection by the Heisman committee for this prestigious award. In an era of high priced players and countless social problems by athletes, Warrick Dunn is a shining example for the Heisman Humanitarian award. He was an outstanding athlete as both an amateur at Florida St and a professional running back in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Bucs. His ability to rise above his personal family tragedy has been one of the great stories in sports over the past two decades. His response to his life situation expressed a tremendous social and community spirit and consciousness that has been an excellent example for all," Coyle stated.
Warrick Dunn, will be honored as the 2010 Heisman Humanitarian Recipient at the 76th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Dinner on December 13th in New York. The Heisman Humanitarian Award was established in 2006 to recognize those in the world of sports that give significantly of themselves to serve their community and improve the lives of others. Dunn started the Homes for the Holidays program in 1997 during his rookie season in the NFL to honor his late mother's dream of home ownership. He then went on to establish the Warrick Dunn Family Foundation in 2002 which increases the programs and services offered to single-parent families. By the end of this year, Dunn will have assisted 100 single parents and their more than 265 children and dependents in Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Tallahassee and Tampa with the American Dream - the purchase of their first home.
"Warrick Dunn's charitable contributions exemplify the Heisman spirit. It will be an honor to welcome him as the newest recipient of the Heisman Humanitarian Award at the 76th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Dinner," said William J. Dockery, Heisman Trust President. "Dunn's experience growing up with a single mother has pushed him to improve the lives of other single parents, providing them with down payment assistance, new furniture and additional household necessities. He is making a difference in four cities he's called home, giving back to the communities that supported him growing up and during his college and professional playing days. Dunn continues to prove that hard work is rewarded both on and off the field and it is a privilege to present this award to him this year."
Dunn, the oldest of six children, experienced the struggles of life in a single-parent family in Baton Rouge. His mother, Betty Smothers, was a police officer who often worked security shifts to provide for her family. It was always her goal to experience the American Dream and become a homeowner. Before she could realize her dream, she was gunned down in an armed robbery during an off-duty shift, leaving 18-year-old Dunn to care for his five siblings. Dunn's dedication to charity was born as a result of the outpouring of support his family received from the community during this tragic time.
"I am honored to receive this award from the Heisman Trophy Trust and I believe it is a testament to the values instilled in me by my mother. Without her strength and determination as an example growing up, I would not have been able to achieve my goals in life and on the football field," said Dunn. "This award will help bring more attention to the work of the Warrick Dunn Family Foundation and for that, I am grateful."
As the recipient of the award, Dunn will receive a $50,000 donation from the Heisman Trophy Trust to the Warrick Dunn Family Foundation. He will also be receiving a plaque commemorating this honor.
Former Heisman Humanitarian winners include: Joey Cheek, Olympic speed skating gold medalist; George Martin, former defensive end of the New York Giants; Pat LaFontaine, former NHL star; and Mia Hamm, world-renowned soccer player. The 76th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Dinner will take place at the New York Marriott Marquis on Monday, December 13, 2010. Tickets are available for purchase at www.heisman.com.
About the Heisman Trophy Trust
The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. The Heisman Trophy Trust ensures the continuation and integrity of this award. The Trust, furthermore, has a charitable mission to support amateur athletics and to provide greater opportunities to the youth of our country. Our goal through these charitable endeavors is for the Heisman Trophy to symbolize the fostering of a sense of community responsibility and service to our youth, especially those disadvantaged or afflicted.
About the Warrick Dunn Family Foundation
The Warrick Dunn Family Foundation was established in 2002 as a way to grow programs and services for single-parent families in the communities of Atlanta, Ga., Baton Rouge, La., Tallahassee and Tampa, Fla., all cities Dunn has called home. The WD-FF is dedicated to providing opportunities for economically disadvantaged single parents and children who have demonstrated a commitment to achieve financial independence and stability. For more information visit: www.wd-ff.org.