SAN DIEGO, Calif., Jan. 8, 2003 - The roar of the crowd made way for the buzz of the saw and the hammering of nails during a Super Bowl blitz build as four National Football League players built a Habitat for Humanity house alongside volunteers and homeowners during the week of Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego, Calif.
"When I got my first home, the NFL provided that - with my salary," joked San Diego Chargers Defensive End Marcellus Wiley, who also tackled home building in last year's Super Bowl blitz build in New Orleans. "Now the NFL, through Habitat for Humanity, is providing the Diaz family with a no-profit, no-interest home."
Wiley joined Scott Turner, a corner with the Buffalo Bills, Tim Dwight, a wide receiver with the San Diego Chargers, and Chuck Wiley, a defensive end with the Minnesota Vikings, as they hammered on a house on Sheryl Lane in National City, a San Diego suburb, to help the Diaz family achieve the dream of homeownership.
"People can put us on a pedestal and call us heroes, but this is what I enjoy - being with real people," Turner told the Diaz family and a crowd of Habitat volunteers. "Jesus said, 'I came not to be served, but to serve,' and I have the privilege to serve the Diaz family. They have had a lifelong dream to have a home and now God has made it a reality."
Dwight, who flexed his construction skills by pounding nails on a frame and installing a portion of the roof, said he helped to build his own home a few years ago. "Our job is great, but what it's really all about is touching people."
Eduardo and Aida Diaz, the partner family of the NFL Super Bowl XXXVII Habitat for Humanity home, will contribute sweat equity hours building their home as well as others, and pay a no-interest, no-profit mortgage. They say they are looking forward to moving out of their small National City apartment and providing a safe, decent home for their two young sons, 7-year-old Elias and 4-year-old Benjamin. Eduardo works as a finish carpenter, helping to create the American dream for other people.
"One of the best dreams we have is to own a house, and now we see it come true," said Eduardo Diaz. "I want to thank God and thank Habitat for Humanity for helping me and my family build a home. And we are grateful to the NFL and the players. My sons say they can't wait to play football in a yard with grass, instead of on the small concrete slab they use now."
The NFL, Allen & Company, and Sports Events donated more than $100,000 to Habitat for Humanity International to build the Diaz's home.
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Founded by Millard Fuller, along with his wife, Linda, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliates in more than 3,000 communities in 87 nations have built and sold more than 125,000 homes to partner families with no-profit, zero-interest mortgages. http://www.habitat.org/