NFL quarterback Kurt Warner joins annual Build-a-Thon in IOWA
NFL quarterback Kurt Warner lent some muscle and some star power to the 2009 Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps Build-a-Thon in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in June. Warner and his wife, Brenda, both Iowa natives, volunteered on behalf of their First Things First Foundation, in partnership with Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity.
“You’re always thinking about how you want to be remembered,” Warner says when asked what motivates his philanthropy. “The one thing I know is that all the things that happen on the field—all the accomplishments—they all come and go. But when you impact somebody’s life, it stays with them forever. And that’s the kind of legacy we want to leave.”
In addition to serving as celebrity spokespeople for the event, both Warners spent the first day of the Build-a-Thon working shoulder-to-shoulder with AmeriCorps members, partner families and other volunteers to help build houses with 20 families, several of whom lost everything in the catastrophic flooding last summer that covered more than 9 square miles of Cedar Rapids and destroyed nearly 4,000 homes.
“Habitat is always one of our favorite experiences,” Warner says. “With a lot of programs, you come in and you hope you have an impact, you hope it lasts. But when you get involved with Habitat, you’re building a home. And you know it’s going to pay dividends for a lifetime.”
When the Warners finished helping raise the walls of a Habitat house for Ashley Heinrich and her family, both took time to write notes in permanent marker on the framework of their front door, asking for blessings and protection.
“I just wrote that I hope they laugh so hard that God hears them,” says Brenda Warner. “There’s nothing better than laughter. Sometimes laughter can carry you through a flood or a tornado. It just gives me a good feeling to know that house will be filled with laughter.”