TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Ashley Rhodes as the 16th Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game against the Ottawa Senators. Rhodes, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Heart Gallery of Pinellas and Pasco, and Eckerd Youth Alternatives.
Rhodes bounced around numerous different foster homes since the age of three and spent 10 years in 14 different homes before she was finally adopted. Instead of being down on life, she was determined to be strong academically, excelling in the classroom and graduated from Eckerd College with honors. Rhodes was inspired by her own experiences and wanted to change the future for others. She served two years as a Guardian ad Litem before becoming a foster parent herself.
Rhodes now circulates around the United States, speaking to groups about the foster child system in this country. She is a calming influence in many children's lives that are currently going through hard times. In 2008, Simon and Schuster published Rhodes' memoir, "Three Little Words," which became a New York Times Best Seller and has recently been optioned for a motion picture.