TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Tallahassee's Bernice Sherman knew she was getting the keys to her new home Tuesday, but what she didn't know was that that home would be completely furnished, and she'd receive $5,000 for a down payment from former Florida State football stand-out Warrick Dunn's charity.
It's a charity inspired by his mother, a Baton Rouge Police Officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty. She always dreamed of being a homeowner, and now, he helps make that dream a reality for others.
"I was shocked. It was a surprise," said Sherman of when Dunn welcomed her to her new home. "I was not expecting him to be here."
Sherman's a home built by Big Bend Habitat for Humanity, but the surprise? Her home was furnished by Aaron's, while also receiving $5,000 towards a down payment through Warrick Dunn Charities.
"To say that I'm happy is just not enough. I'm blessed. I'm blessed to get these keys today."
"Every time you have the opportunity to witness those life changing moments when a family walks through the doors and sees things in their rooms, to me, we're changing lives," said Dunn. "We're impacting individuals."
The single mom of four has worked hard to have that moment.
"I was inches away from losing my life. My leg got broken. I wasn't able to walk for about six months." Sherman reflected on a bus accident that led to a discovery of a blood clot in her lungs.
"I kept a smile on my face. I didn't let it get me down," she said. "I did what I had to do to get my home."
"Her positivity, her outlook and resiliency in life, her dedication to moving forward and being the best she can be for her little girls inspires us all," said Antoine Wright, Big Bend Habitat for Humanity's Executive Director.
Now she has a home to show for it, and it's outfitted just in time for the holidays.
"The journey's not over," said Dunn. "It's really just beginning."
"You are truly a blessing from God," added Sherman. "I can't thank you enough."
Sherman's home is number 209 over 25 years for Dunn and his Homes for the Holidays program. That includes 12 here in Tallahassee.