TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Delwyn Collins as the first Lightning Community Hero of the 2016-17 season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Detroit Red Wings. Collins, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Tampa General Hospital Foundation.
Originally from Texas, Collins has been entrenched in the Tampa Bay community since moving here by improving as many lives as he can. He has set up and led the Foster Angel's Giving Tree at Tampa General Hospital for 26 years. Collins started the tradition as a way to provide gifts to children who may not receive any gifts on Christmas. Since 1990, the program has grown through Collins' efforts, and now provides gifts for over 600 foster children each year. Collins grew up in a low income community and was labeled handicapped with a learning disability. After fighting an uphill battle through bullying as a child, Collins made it his mission to show all children that someone loves and cares about them.
Today, Collins continues his commitment to foster children and still sets aside a portion of his paycheck each week to buy gifts for them. His limitless passion for helping others shows on multiple days of the week when he visits the Health and Wellness Center at TGH offering any help he can provide. Collins doesn't seek recognition nor reward for his work, but rather hopes to set an example for other to follow in his footsteps and care for others.
Collins becomes the 230th 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 $11.65-million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area.