NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - On a cold, unassuming Tuesday in Nashville, Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota teamed up with former NFL running back Warrick Dunn to help provide a warm home to a family in need.
The athletes teamed with Habitat for Humanity for Greater Nashville and Aaron’s to help the family.
Latonia Rhodes said she applied three times to the Habitat for Humanity program. This time it worked.
“I’ve been trying to accomplish this goal for a very long time,” said Rhodes. “With the affordable housing here it was crazy. I made too much for the income base, but not enough for the traditional mortgage. So the third time I applied for Habitat, I’m finally a homeowner after so long.”
As an added bonus, they fully furnished the home, stocked the kitchen with food and provide a $5,000 check to help with the down payment.
“Her story was incredible. The amount of work and sacrifice she put into owning a home. Now her and her son will be able to live and enjoy it,” said Mariota. “We’re glad to say that we helped and were a part of it.”
“This is one of the things, if you’re doing the little things to move forward in life, we’re just trying to give you a helping hand, to push you on down the road,” said Dunn. “Definitely thankful that she is open to the opportunity of letting someone help her and continue her path.”
Dunn has helped provide 176 houses to families across the country, four here in Nashville.
“Warrick has done an unbelievable job for the last 20 years of building homes,” said Mariota. “We’re just very glad to be a part of it.”
The tears show the appreciation and the impact complete strangers can have on one another. That’s the payoff for Mariota. Whatever happens with his NFL career, it’s moments like this that mean so much.
“I think through the last couple of months I’ve learned a lot about myself and a lot about this game,” said Mariota. “Football is something that doesn’t define me as a person, but it allows me to have a platform and for me and my family, we’re going to do everything we can to be able to use that platform in the way we feel is best and the way God has intended us to do it.”
The group donated two homes to families on Tuesday. Mariota’s Motiv8 Foundation helped with the finishing touches, groceries and the down payment. Dunn and Aaron’s provided the home furnishings.