TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Chase Hartman as the second Lightning Community Hero this season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Colorado Avalanche. Hartman, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate half the funds to Hillsborough County Schools, while the other half will go towards a scholarship for his education.
Hartman, an eighth grader at Farnell Middle school, has a passion for promoting literacy in schools. He started his own organization, Read.Repeat, which collects and donates books to schools nationwide. Hartman has already collected 110,000 books for 200 different locations in all 50 states. By partnering with Hillsborough County Schools, Hartman has helped 25,000 local students receive the literary resources they need to achieve a strong educational foundation. Hartman's organization not only helps improve literacy, but also helps the environment by promoting reuse. Read.Repeat has saved nearly 3,200 trees by distributing used books to schools. The Environmental Protective Agency awarded Read.Repeat with the Presidential Environmental Youth Award for its environmental awareness.
After learning that the hispanic population makes up 35% of Hillsborough County, Hartman wanted to do more to help spanish-speaking students. His new initiative, "Lightning Libros", will provide spanish-speaking Kindergarten students in Hillsborough County with dual-language books to take home and read with their families. These books will also be delievered to each school's Reading Instuctor, who will help run the program.
Hartman becomes the 370th 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 $18.50 million to more than 400 different nonprofits 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.