TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Bob Martinez as the 46th Lightning Community Hero of the 2015-16 season during the first period of tonight's game versus the New York Islanders. Martinez, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the University of Tampa, Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa Bay History Center and Hillsborough Education Foundation.
Tampa native Bob Martinez has championed environmental and educational progress in the Greater Tampa Bay area for over 50 years. In 1986, the former Tampa Mayor and educator was elected as the state's first governor of Spanish descent. As Governor, he initiated America's largest environmental land acquisition program and advocated for legislation to protect manatees and dolphins. Martinez also co-chaired a campaign to rebuild Nature's Classroom, a program that serves as an environmental center for sixth grade students.
Today, Martinez continues his philanthropic commitment to Hillsborough County as an advisor and board member to numerous non-profits including Lowry Park Zoo and the Tampa Bay History Center. His limitless passion to community and environmental advancement has increased the living standards for Hillsborough County and Florida residents.
Martinez becomes the 225th Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the program in 2011-12 with a $10 million, five-season commitment to the Tampa Bay community. Through this evening's game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $11.4 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area.