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Pro Football Player, Philanthropist Warrick Dunn This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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In 1993, Warrick Dunn was a teenager living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The eldest ofsix children, he was a football star in high school. Football powerhouses such asFlorida State and LSU recruited Dunn, even though at 5' 8", 180 pounds he wasconsidered too small to be a college runningback. He grew up never knowing hisfather, and was a father figure to his five siblings. His mother had to juggleseveral jobs and double shifts as a police officer, so Dunn cooked the meals,cleaned the house, and took care of the children.

Then, just two daysafter celebrating his eighteenth birthday, Dunn's maturity and survival skillsfaced the ultimate challenge. His mother was escorting a grocery-store manager toa bank to make a deposit when two gunmen appeared and fired. She was dead beforeshe could react, and Warrick Dunn and his siblings were left without a parent.Dunn identified his mother's body, and proceeded with the funeral, attended bythousands. At this time, Dunn realized it was his obligation to care for hisbrothers and sisters.

Dunn knew he had to go to college and get his degreeso he could support his family. Football had been his outlet, and now it wouldtake him to even greater heights. Dunn was awarded a football scholarship toFlorida State University. While he attended school, friends and neighbors tookcare of his siblings, but Dunn often made the five-hour drive home to check onthem.

At FSU, Dunn made a name for himself. He provided fans with some ofthe most memorable moments in FSU football, but he never wanted attention. It washis job to be in college because he had to help his family. After four years, hegraduated with a degree in information studies, but his work on the footballfield was incredible. He finished as the all-time rushing leader in FSU historywith 3,959 yards, and scored 47 touchdowns, another school record.

Proscouts said Dunn was too small to play in the NFL, but again he proved he had abig heart. He was drafted in the first round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whichmeant he had accomplished his goal, and could comfortably support his family withhis multimillion-dollar contract. Dunn starred in the NFL in his first season,and was chosen Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Dunn also makes atremendous mark off the field. Since 1997, Dunn has run a program called Homesfor the Holidays. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, he pays the down payments onhouses and completely furnishes them with everything from sofas to toothpaste.Dunn does this out of the generosity of his heart in memory of his mother. Todate he has helped more than 25 mothers and 100 children into their own homes. Hedoesn't do this for publicity, but to see the joy on the women's faces. He wantschildren to grow up in their own home, so he provides this remarkablegift.

With all this kindness and generosity, Dunn is recognized as one ofthe most humble and soft-spoken people today. He strove to support his family,and did so much more than that. He was robbed of his childhood that night in1993, but it helped shape him into the man he is today. Warrick Dunn may be smallin stature, but not in heart. &




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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Austin Mauldin13 said...
Oct. 28, 2011 at 11:28 am:
Wow he must be an beast!!! he scored 47 touchdown and like 3,000 yard holy cow!!!! he is a beast!!
 
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