By Teresa Varley
On Tuesday night the Steelers will reap the rewards of their Super Bowl XLIII victory when they are presented their Super Bowl rings.
But on Monday afternoon, Debbie Miller was the one who benefitted from the victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
Miller is the recipient of the "Champions House," presented by Habitat for Humanity to a qualified family in the Super Bowl winning city. Miller and her grandsons will soon move into a home in the Westwood section of Pittsburgh, a home that is being built from the ground up by volunteers.
Miller was taken by surprise on Monday when she was working on the house and 14 members of the Super Bowl Champion Steelers showed up to get things rolling.
The players, along with assistant head coach John Mitchell, put up the exterior walls of the house and began work on interior walls, as well as handling some painting duties.
"I am excited about all of the Steelers and my house," said Miller, who currently rents a duplex and is thrilled with the opportunity to own her own home. "They are so easy to work with. We had so much fun. My grandkids will make it special. It means a whole lot. It's a blessing from God."
Steelers' players, including Greg Warren who recruited teammates to take part, Brett Keisel, Ryan Clark, Deshea Townsend, James Farrior and Willie Parker, donned hard hats, pounded hammers and painted away on a hot and humid afternoon. But there were no complaints.
"It's great to come out and help," said Townsend, who was a whiz with the nail gun. "It's great to help her out here building her own house. It's great to help make a difference in someone's life.
"The guys had a good time. The guys are smiling, it's hard work, but it's for a great cause. It's teamwork. It's just like playing football."
Miller is required to put in 350 hours of work on the house in lieu of a down payment and will have a 30-year no interest mortgage to pay it off. Working side-by-side with her was one of the highlights for the players.
"This is something I enjoy doing," said Warren. "I have done similar things before. I enjoy it. We are fortunate to have what we have and are happy to give back.
"It's great to work with the family. You get to see who it is benefiting and who will enjoy it and you feel the gratitude. You see if first hand. It adds character and love to the project."
Keisel is no stranger to the home building experience, helping out his family when he was just 12-years old building their first home in Wyoming. He looked at home on the construction site and left with the satisfaction of knowing how much it meant to Miller and the kids.
"They are going to enjoy it," said Keisel. "The kids will be able to grow up in there and that is what makes it special."
Photos by Mike Fabus