PASCO COUNTY — It has been an exciting week for April “Shannon” Harrelson and her boys, 11-year-old Ethan and 8-year-old Loghan.
On Dec. 8, the family thought they were going to their future home in Lacoochee for a photo shoot with East Pasco Habitat for Humanity, which was partly true. The family didn’t know that they would be greeted by television cameras and Warrick Dunn. They didn’t know they would receive their home on this day or an additional $5,000 off their mortgage, not to mention that the Warrick Dunn Foundation completely furnished the home, right down to the apple pie on the table.
The community came together to make this happen. Michael Fremlin, the construction manager for East Pasco Habitat for Humanity and many habitat volunteers worked right up to Dec. 8 to make the home perfect for the family. A continental breakfast was donated by Carlos’ Catering in Seffner for the surprise home dedication.
The Warrick Dunn Foundation had volunteers from all over the state come in and help decorate. The Greater Trilby Community Association/North East Pasco Security Patrol helped to secure the home. East Pasco Quilters donated an heirloom quality quilt. The Boys & Girls Club in Lacoochee extended a free membership to the children moving in the home. Many television stations covered Warrick Dunn presenting the home to the Harrelson, and the children said now that they had a home, they wanted a puppy.
Stephanie Black, director of Family Services for Habitat, called April Harrelson to see if having a puppy was a responsibility the family wanted to undertake, recognizing owning a dog is an emotional and financial commitment. Terry Dyar in Largo had a dauchound puppy she wanted to give the family, so the staff from East Pasco Habitat drove to Largo and picked up an 8-week-old puppy.
On Dec. 10, the Warrick Dunn Foundation and East Pasco Habitat for Humanity presented the puppy to the boys as a surprise gift at Habitat’s Holiday Hope Christmas Open House with a crowd of about 150 people. Tiffany Williamson was there on behalf of Dade City Animal Clinic and donated veterinarian services, puppy shots and a gift basket with brochures, shampoo, clippers, everything you might need for a new member of the family. The boys named the dog “Bubba Dunn.” April and the boys are so grateful and amazed by the outpouring of kindness, generosity and love from the public. It has been an exciting week for the Harrelson’s and an exciting new start for a family.
East Pasco Habitat for Humanity is not a give-away program. Habitat builds houses with East Pasco families in need. Volunteer labor is used to build houses to keep the building costs low. Partner families invest a minimum of 400 hours of their own sweat equity into building their houses and the houses of others.