My name is Calvin Dennis and this is my Heartstory...
I was born in South Georgia (229) but raised in Tallahassee, FL (850). I attended John Johnson Elementary (Bainbridge, GA), Astoria Park Elementary (Tallahassee, FL), Bellevue Middle School (Tallahassee, FL), Florida State University School (Tallahassee, FL), University Of West Georgia (Carrollton, GA) & Georgia State University (Atlanta, GA).
Every Heart Has A Story!
In 2007, I lost my mother Laurina G. Dennis to an excruciating six month battle with pancreatic cancer. From the trauma of losing my mother at such a young age left me hopeless, sad, angry and filled with doubt. On July 25, 2007 I went to sit with my mother for the last time. As the disease had eaten away at my beautiful African queen and now due to the stroke had rendered her speech and she only could stare into the sky I felt inner peace knowing that my mother did everything in her power to give me a life she never had and filled me with 17 years of love, encouragement and acknowledgement of the difference I would make one day.
My mother raised me to never just fit in but to live everyday with purpose and keep catching up to my dreams. I lightly held my mom's hand as the tears continued to run down my eyes. I told my mom I loved her and I promised her that I would never forget her and would make her proud one day. I did not want to see my mom suffer anymore and in our last earthly interaction she gave me peace within her eyes. On July 26, 2007 I was the first one in the room to see my mother's lifeless body peacefully at rest. In this moment I felt nothing but hurt, anger and rage in which a piece of me died.
Sanctuary On The Field "LGD"
The next week I started my senior season on the gridiron with Fall camp. The overwhelming feeling of losing a loved one lingered with me as I entered two a days but everything inside me told me that's where i needed to be and the rest is history. We finished the regular season 10-0 with statement wins in each of our ten games. We had highly recruited college prospects on our team that came with daily visits from the nations best coaches and teams. Almost 15 years later our team still has had one of the most successful and memorable seasons in Florida State University School (Florida High) program history. I was elected to the Florida Class 2B All-State team, All Big Bend teams and accepted a full athletic scholarship to the University of West Georgia (UWG).
MY BROTHER'S KEEPER
As a true freshman, I played Wide Receiver and Punt Return for the University of West Georgia under head coach Daryl Dickey. While traveling home to Tallahassee, FL for spring break, I was involved in fatal car accident that took the life of my childhood friend and collegiate teammate, Willie Pitts. We were riding home in a small, 2-door coupe on a dreadful, rainy evening. I decided to allow Willie to ride in the front seat to give him more space. Looking back on the events of the evening, I realize now; had it not been for Willie sitting in the front seat, I would probably be dead. He saved my life. As we left the University of West Georgia, we passed our exit and ended up traveling south on Highway 85; placing us in Opelika, Alabama. The rain continued to pour down and the last thing I remembered was waking up to us crossing the road and being ejected from the backseat hitting my head on the seat in front of me; knocking me unconscious.
After three days in critical condition and being resuscitated twice back to life, I finally awoke from my coma. When I opened my eyes, I was in a state of confusion; not fully understanding why I was surrounded by my family, teammates and Head Coach. The next couple days where a blur as I finally headed home to Tallahassee, FL when I finally received the news about Willie’s death. i went to his funeral not understanding why god had to take him from us and not me instead. His funeral was an experience that still cuts deep just thinking about it. It was a very gloomy day in Tallahassee but everyone still came out to pay their respects. I did my best to stay composed when all i wanted to do is breakdown and give up. Surrounded by my community I made it through the day and within a week's time I was headed back to UWG. When I got back to school I was greeted by my teammates and from that point my entire perspective on life had changed. Fall Camp was days away and I had started working back out and moving around in hopes of getting past the loss of a fellow teammate. So in the summer of 2009 I organized and created “My Brother’s Keeper T-Shirts for my entire team. These shirts were more than just T-Shirts they provided our team with hope, comradery and an unbreakable bond in Memory of Willie Pitts. On December 12, 2012 after beating the odds I graduated from the University Of West Georgia and opened a new chapter in my life.