17 TROPHIES, 17 HOUSES: HABITAT FOR HUMANITY, NICK’S KIDS PAIR UP

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This year’s National Championship victory is about a lot more than just a trophy and bragging rights for Donna Smith and her son.

Thanks to Nick’s Kids and Habitat for Humanity, they’re getting a new home and a new life.

“I was actually putting my son to bed when Tua threw that pass,” Smith said. “And I went totally nuts. And my son was cracking up because I was jumping up and down and watching it as a fan.”

At the time, Smith was still unaware that the Tide’s remarkable comeback would change her family’s life forever. But Smith’s family was selected as the recipient of the 17th Habitat for Humanity home funded by Nick’s Kids, Alabama head football coach Nick Saban’s organization that’s built homes for every National Championship the Tide wins.

Habitat houses are not free, though, so Smith is paying off a mortgage and volunteering her own time on her house and several others.

“It was Saturday that they offered me the opportunity to lay some concrete blocks,” Smith said. “I couldn’t do that. I’m not strong enough, but I’m ready to get my hands dirty and ready to work.”

Smith’s home needs some special modifications because her son uses a wheelchair. He has spina bifida, a condition where the spine and spinal cord don’t form properly.

“This house will have no steps, no barriers, no thresholds, nothing,” Smith said. “It will be built for him, and that’s really exciting.”

When the house is finished, Smith’s promise to her son that he’ll have a room he can wash his hands in without help will be fulfilled.

Construction begins Feb. 19.

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