TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Bruce Fyfe as the first Lightning Community Hero of the year this morning at the Homeless Emergency Project in Clearwater. Fyfe, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Homeless Emergency Project and Morton Plant Mease Hospital.
The presentation today marked the start of the second year of a pledge from Jeff Vinik and his wife, Penny, through the Lightning Foundation, to honor local community heroes and their representative charities. The Viniks have pledged $10 million through the program over a five-year period. Although there is currently a work stoppage in the National Hockey League, the Viniks have chosen to move forward with the hero program and the presentations, which will take place on scheduled Tampa Bay Lightning home game dates. Grants will be awarded in the community at the location of local charities until the hockey season begins.
"Penny and I feel strongly about the Lightning Community Heroes program and we look forward to continuing it during the year." Vinik said. "It's our goal to be committed to honor the heroic efforts of volunteers that give so much of their time to help others in the Tampa Bay area."
Fyfe has served as Board Chair of HEP since 1992 and has advocated on behalf of the shelter in Tampa Bay, ensuring they have a safe place to live, while also providing the resources to get back on their feet. His long record of volunteerism is deeply rooted in a sense of social responsibility.
For Mr. Fyfe, the loss of his son, Brendan, who died at the age of 24 from the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after serving three tours in Iraq, has made it his life's goal to help other veterans to not suffer a similar fate. Turning his grief into hope, Fyfe initiated a unique housing program called 'Campaign to Bring our Veterans All The Way Home', a $3.2 million low income housing project in Clearwater that is intended for the more than 15,000 projected homeless in Florida veterans during the coming years. His goal is to supply assistance to our brave returning soldiers who are psychologically and physically scarred by their experiences.
The Homeless Emergency Project in Clearwater is a charitable organization whose mission is to provide the homeless and very low-income individuals and families with housing, food, clothing and support services necessary to obtain self-sufficiency and improved quality of life.