The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Charlotte Tollefson as the 40th Lightning Community Hero of the year this afternoon at the Woodlawn Community Academy, located in Clearwater. Tollefson, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Woodlawn Community Academy. As a result of today's check presentation, the total amount of donations has reached the $2-million benchmark for the season. The Lightning will award their final community hero of the season on May 6.
Tollefson welcomed foster children into her family's home, while also adopting a special needs child with Asperger's Syndrome and eventually started a school to meet the needs of special education students in the Tampa Bay community. She holds a Master's Degree in Special Education, and 13 years ago opened Woodlawn Community Academy in Clearwater, a Christian school with an environment that offers top quality educational services to students.
Accepting children that others have turned away, Tollefson works 10 hours a day, seven days a week to meet all the requirements of the more than 100 students in the school. Despite battling cancer twice since opening the school 13 years ago, she has remained committed to meeting all the needs of the students she teaches. In addition to her standard school responsibilities, she coordinates a food pantry, collects clothing for children and runs an Angel Tree gift collection at Christmas. Tollefson truly puts all others before herself and makes the Tampa Bay community a better place.