TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Carlos del Castillo as the 14th Lightning Community Hero this season during the first period of tonight's game versus the New York Islanders. Del Castillo, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will distribute the money between the 1st Lt. Dimitri del Castillo Scholarship fund and the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County.
Back in 2011 del Castillo lost his son, Dimitri, a West Point graduate, who was serving in Kunar province, Afghanistan at the time. Rather than become buried in his grief over losing a child, Carlos has honored his son's memory with his support of others through the 1st Lt. Dimitri del Castillo Scholarship. This scholarship provides financial assistance to a child or spouse of a fallen Ranger. "While most attention has been given to our wounded warriors, little has been focused on the families of those lost in battle. Many children who lost a parent are now struggling to attend college and need the financial support from our scholarship," del Castillo notes. 100% of the money raised is directed towards the scholarship itself, while the del Castillo family generously covers any other costs through their own funds.
The 1st Lt. Dimitri del Castillo Scholarship has already awarded a total of 15 scholarship recipients. The money is paid directly to the academic institution for expenses such as tuition, books, fees and housing. Del Castillo has also served on various community boards including the Hillsborough Education Foundation, Tampa JCC Federation, Friends of the Riverwalk and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Foundation. He currently serves on the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County, through which he has actively promoted efforts for our community's children and families to improve their lives through education.
Carlos del Castillo becomes the 285th Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the Lightning Community Hero 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 $14.35 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area. During the summer of 2016, the Vinik's announced that the community hero program will give away another $10-million over the next five seasons.