The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Carol Whitmore as a Lightning Community Hero during the first period of tonight's game against the Washington Capitals. Whitmore, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Community Coalition on Homelessness and Animal Network Inc. Throughout each of the Lightning's 41 regular season home games, the Lightning honored a Community Hero and also awarded a $50,000 check to a non-profit charity of their choice. Over the course of the season, a total of $2,050,000 has been handed out to worthy community causes.
Whitmore began her life in a troubled home, as both parents were alcoholics and incapable of raising her. She was abandoned at 15 years old and moved in with neighbors. Whitmore worked her way through high school and then nursing school by working nights at a local nursing home. After becoming a nurse, she began giving back to her community by co-founding the first AIDS clinic in Manatee County. Whitmore served on boards of organizations supporting children's services, the county food bank, the Manatee Opportunity Council and families against drug abuse. She always tries to give a voice to those in the community who are voiceless: families affected by AIDS or drugs and addictions, children, low-income families and young people at risk of making poor life choices.
One of her greatest attributes is her kind heart and willingness to assist people who are disadvantaged. Whitmore and her husband, who is a plastic surgeon, volunteer regularly at homeless shelters and with her assistance he performs reconstructive surgery on homeless people who never would be able to afford such surgeries. Whitmore also streamlined and greatly expanded a medical fund that provided services for indigent people at local hospitals, which enabled the less fortunate to get medical care. She also took a stance after learning that 1,500 healthy dogs and cats were euthanized last year and acts as a liaison between the Manatee County Animal Services and the Commission. Her goal is to secure adoptions for 90 percent of animals by the end of this year.