From Sweat to Tears


The Rooms To Go Community Makeovers have touched the lives of many kids this season, and it culminated with the final makeover in Union City on Tuesday

When Todd McClure, Devonta Freeman and the team from Rooms To Go began their Community Makeover endeavor in July, it was the hottest day of the year. They stood in the driveway of a family in Atlanta with sweat pouring from their faces before they had even lifted a box.

Along the way, sweat became tears at various moments for everyone involved as 10 families in total were touched by McClure, Turner and Rooms To Go, who supplied furniture and coordinated makeovers for families all over Atlanta this season.

The Rooms To Go Makeoversculminated Tuesday in Union City at the home of Sherrell Burroughs.

What began on one of the hottest days ended on one of the coldest days of the year in the city, a 28-degree day that didn't slow anyone down as furniture was moved into Burroughs' home.

Burroughs, a soldier in the Army National Guard, supports her two children, Janyah and Isaiah, and her mother, who lives with them. They also happen to be big Falcons fans.

The first nine makeovers hosted by McClure and Turner involved children's rooms. The Falcons worked with various organizations, including the Arthur M. Blank Family YMCA, the Boys and Girls Club of Hall County and Operation Homefront, to select the families. Rooms To Go donated the furniture and delivered it to the homes. The home furnishings retailer also worked with the Falcons to coordinate the entire series of makeovers.

Rooms To Go sought a partnership with the Falcons not only because of their success on the field, but also because they saw a company with a similar vision of contributing positive change to the communities in which it works and resides. Together they dreamed up the community makeover plan.

"At Rooms To Go, we really wanted to try and make a difference in the community rather than simply entering into a sponsorship relationship with the Falcons," Warren Kornblum, the company's chief strategic officer, said as he was seated at Burroughs' kitchen table. "We're very much a company that believes in paying rent for the space that we occupy on this Earth."

As Burroughs opened her front door, standing in front of her were Turner and McClure in their red Falcons jerseys and they were recognized immediately. As 11-year-old Isaiah and five-year-old Janyah were getting over the fact that two Falcons players were standing in their living room they realized their home had new furniture.

Turner, who's been hard at work with this program since July, told the children the best was yet to come, winking at Isaiah who continued to stand in front of him holding his No. 33 jersey, starstruck. The two children, or mom and grandma, had yet to see their rooms. Atlanta's Pro Bowl running back felt all the factors in play in this final makeover made it even more special to him.

"I think today was the best reaction of all of them because we did the whole house and everybody's room," Turner said. "Everybody was waiting to get to see their room. It's been great. Also, it's Christmas time. It couldn't be better. I hope we can do the same thing next year."

As was the case in every makeover before Tuesday's, screams were heard by the children as Turner and McClure escorted them to their rooms. Screams turned to tears as Burroughs' mother concluded the reveal in her own room.

"Overwhelming," she said. "I don't even know what to say. I'm at a loss for words."

McClure, who serves as the mouthpiece of the team's offensive line, said it best for her, as WXIA 11-Alive was on hand to film the emotional day. The center shared how honored he was to be a part of a day like Tuesday for a soldier who serves her country and her kids.

Kornblum believes positive events in a person's life can be a game changer for them. Many of the children his company helped impact through the makeovers had never slept on mattresses before. Change like that, especially in a kid's life, he feels, is what helps set people on paths to change future lives. Being a part of change like that is why he and Rooms To Go wanted to work with the Falcons.

Turner, McClure and all their teammates know the responsibility of an Atlanta Falcons player goes beyond game day. Serving the community is one of the pillars of owner Arthur Blank's Falcons and moments like the ones Rooms To Go and the football franchise created this season are what being on Mr. Blank's team is all about.

"It starts up top with Arthur Blank," McClure said. "One of his passions is thanking our fans and the people in our community, the people that come watch us play and support this team. We get a ton of guys out on our off days volunteering their time to help the people that have helped us."

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