Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Warrick Dunn helps another working mom become homeowner in Pasco

Shawn Palic, center, holds her son, Adam Burgess, 1, on Monday while Natalie Boe, spokeswoman for the Warrick Dunn Foundation, greets Palic and family at their new home. Warrick Dunn, left, provided a down payment and furnished it.


Shawn Palic, center, holds her son, Adam Burgess, 1, on Monday while Natalie Boe, spokeswoman for the Warrick Dunn Foundation, greets Palic and family at their new home. Warrick Dunn, left, provided a down payment and furnished it.

DADE CITY — Shawn Palic walked into her new home Monday morning with her three kids and a former Tampa Bay Buccaneer by her side.

Palic, 39, glanced at the dark leather couches, 48-inch flat screen TV and glass coffee tables in her living room and gasped before speaking.

"I love it," she said. "Thank you so much."

Warrick Dunn, whose nonprofit organization partnered with East Pasco Habitat for Humanity to build and furnish the four-bedroom, 1 1/2 bathroom house, eased the mood for a grateful Palic.

"You can dance or cry. It's okay," said Dunn, a running back who was released by the Bucs in February. "Now let's start in the kitchen. I know you like to eat."

Palic had been part of the East Pasco Habitat for Humanity building crew for her home on Coleman Avenue, but had no idea the Warrick Dunn Foundation was providing furniture, lawn care and food for the 1,274-square-foot house.

Palic's house marks the third Pasco home that Dunn has helped a family move into since December. This home was a far cry from the two-bedroom, 630-square-foot mobile home in Zephyrhills that Palic and her children used to live in.

During Monday's downpour, Palic and her children — 15-year-old Shayla Palic, 11-year-old Dakota Palic and 1-year-old Adam Burgess — walked around the inside of their new digs in shock.

In the kitchen, there was a dark wood table with four chairs and a fresh apple pie beneath a glass pie case. Unopened boxes of kitchenware, including an electric griddle and a nine-piece Pyrex set, sat on the floor.

Near the table in the pantry were jars of Ragu spaghetti sauce and peanut butter and boxes of elbow macaroni and Stove Top turkey stuffing, bought from Publix by Dunn's foundation.

Standing in the doorway of her bedroom, Dakota peered inside and grinned at her new bed, decorated with a white bedskirt and a pink, blue and green floral bed set.

"I like the whole room," she said.

Pitched in to build it

Dakota's mother said she had always wanted to be a homeowner, but didn't think it would become a reality while she worked as a receptionist at Florida Medical Clinic and raised three kids.

"I wanted to own a home for a long time, but being a single mom, I didn't think I could do it," said Palic, who is divorced.

One day last fall, Palic heard a presentation from Foundation of Caring officials at her job. Someone mentioned Habitat for Humanity's work to help families get homes.

Palic applied in August and was accepted a month later. Work began on her house in January. As part of the agreement with Habitat, Palic was required to perform 400 hours of construction work on the house.

Unbeknownst to her, Habitat officials sent her application to Dunn's foundation, who figured she'd be a perfect fit for the Homes for the Holidays program.

"It's really rewarding," said John J. Finnerty, president of East Pasco Habitat for Humanity. "I've been blessed in my life, so to be able to help someone else is great."

On Monday, about 50 friends, co-workers and members of Habitat and the Foundation of Caring floated through the house, feet squeaking on the shiny floors from the rain.

Palic said she felt overwhelmed and grateful to have the home she always wanted.

After everyone filtered out and all the paperwork for her new house was signed, Palic said she had one thing left to do when all the excitement died down.

"I'm going to sit down," she said, "and take it all in."

Camille C. Spencer can be reached at or (813) 909-4609.

About the Warrick Dunn Foundation

Palic's home was donated through the Homes for the Holidays program, part of Warrick Dunn's nonprofit foundation that was founded in 1997 to help single parents and their children achieve financial independence and stability. Dunn began the program in memory of his single mother, a Baton Rouge, La., police officer killed in the line of duty. Dunn has helped 86 single parents and 233 of their children and dependents. Palic's home was the third of four to be dedicated as part of a $100,000 grant from Humana, Tampa Bay's benefits program. Of that money, $25,000 is used at each home to pay for down payment assistance and furniture.

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Warrick Dunn helps another working mom become homeowner in Pasco 05/18/09 [Last modified: Monday, May 18, 2009 7:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win


    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.
  2. Pinellas licensing board executive director settled hundreds of cases without getting his board's approval

    Local Government

    By Mark Puente

    Times Staff Writer

    Eleanor Morrison complained to the Pinellas licensing board in 2015 that her contractor installed crooked walls and windows and poured too much concrete for her carport.

    Eleanor Morrison poses at her home in Treasure Island, 5/26/17. Morrison filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and later learned that its former Executive Director, Rodney Fischer, dismissed the case in a private meeting with the contractor.
  3. Report: Kusher wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin


    Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Donald Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, U.S. …

    The name of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's White House senior adviser, has come up as part of the Russia investigation. [Associated Press]
  4. Rays pitchers rave about Twins pitching coach, ex-mentor Neil Allen

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — There have been a lot of coaches who have had a hand in helping Chris Archer get to the big leagues and to the front of the Rays rotation, and as he took the mound Friday night at Target Field, he had reason to nod appreciatively toward the home dugout.

    In their third year with pitching coach Neil Allen, the Twins have been one of the surprises of the American League.
  5. Swan sculpture deputies say was stolen by naked man found near Lakeland pond


    A $25,000 swan sculpture that Polk County sheriff's deputies say was stolen by a naked man last weekend was found near a pond in Lakeland on Thursday.

    A swan sculpture that was stolen in Lakeland on May 19 was recovered by the Polk Sheriff’s Office on Friday.