TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Debra Paradis Shackowsky as the 40th Lightning Community Hero of the 2015-16 season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Montreal Canadiens. Shackowsky, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Marjorie's Hope, PTA Florida Congress of Parents and Teachers, African American Club, National Association for Mental Illness Hernando and the Free Methodist Church of North America.
Tonight's community hero has been a lightning rod of hope and faith within the Tampa Bay community for decades. In 1996, a drunk driver killed Shackowsky's younger sister Marjorie. Instead of mourning her life, Shackowsky decided to celebrate her spirit by giving back to the community. Therefore, her perseverance and strong leadership led to the inception of Marjorie's Hope, an organization that is dedicated to providing school supplies, clothing, sneakers and healthy snacks to thousands of Pasco County students.
This past year 100 volunteers gathered at Hudson High School to fill nearly 1,500 backpacks with school supplies and personal hygiene items in a single night. Shackowsky's commitment has inspired many more individuals to become more involved in assisting children in need. Her legacy is to provide a strong foundation for a happy and successful life by meeting needs for school supplies, clothing, sports equipment and other necessities.
Shackowsky becomes the 219th Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the 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 $11.1 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area.