DALLAS – Raising walls was the task at hand for five Heisman winners affiliated with the Heisman Trophy Trust and Nissan this past weekend. The group began the build of a new home that is part of the East Oak Cliff neighborhood south of metropolitan Dallas.
This was the first day-one construction of 30 houses that the Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity is building as part of the 2014 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project.
"The organization has built about 65 houses in this neighborhood over the last several years," said Sara Brooks, COO, Dallas Area Habitat. "Adding these 30 more we will be bringing our total to almost 100, and we will really start to see this whole neighborhood turn around as a result of that."
Billy Sims (1978, Oklahoma), George Rogers (1980, South Carolina), Herschel Walker (Georgia, 1982), Tim Brown (Notre Dame, 1987), and Ricky Williams (1998, Texas) donned hard hats and got to work with employees from Nissan and a Habitat for Humanity construction crew, including new home owner, Jessica Hunter.
"I have been in dark places before. I have been where I did not have money when I grew up. I have been in a place when I did not think anyone was going to help me," said Walker. "But to see her (Hunter) smile, and see everyone out here working, and enjoying that, that makes it even more important. To see people smile as they work and help, that is one of the best things you can do."
Nissan's first-ever build with both Habitat for Humanity and the Heisman Trust took place in 2013 in the New Orleans area. The organizations have formed a one-of-a-kind partnership to build these homes in areas where Nissan employees, and customers, live and work.
"Last year we saw first-hand the power of working together to change lives for the better, and the smiles on family members' faces was an incredible reminder of the importance of community service," said Nissan Marketing Vice President Jon Brancheau.
Hunter – who is mom to three children ages four, seven and nine – is a loss mitigation specialist working at Citigroup in Dallas. She has been working to buy this house for months and surprised her children on Saturday with the news of their new home.
"My children actually want a house – our own house," said Hunter. "We have been staying with grandparents for a while. So it will be a dream come true for us. This is my first home. I really appreciate it, being able to build it, putting my hard work into it as well."
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