TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Cheryl Hickman as the 22nd Lightning Community Hero of the 2016-17 season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Columbus Blue Jackets. Hickman, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Women's Resource Center.
In 2003, Hickman showed resiliency in the face of adversity after losing her job and her husband. Hickman was on the verge of homelessness after nearly losing electricity in her home where she lived with her two small children. Not knowing where to turn, Hickman sought out help from a local church. After receiving assistance from the church, Hickman made it her personal mission to assure that other families in her situation would get the help that they needed. Hickman's goal was to provide struggling families with a safe community where they could find solutions to the adversity they were facing.
Later in 2003, to help these families in need, Hickman started the Women's Resource Center of Tampa Bay. Families have received assistance with past due bills, child care, and back to school supplies. Aside from the temporary help, Hickman's organization also provides counseling, training, resume writing assistance, and career planning. In April of 2016, Hickman opened The Little White House, the first emergency shelter that has already provided a safe haven for five single mothers and their children. Throughout the past 13 years, Women's Resource Center of Tampa Bay has helped over 40,000 women, children and families in need.
Hickman becomes the 251st 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 $12.7 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area. Last summer, the Vinik's announced that the community hero program will give away another $10-million over the next five seasons.
Video: Lightning honor Hickman as Community Hero