TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Herb Schluderburg as the 18th Lightning Community Hero this season during the first period of tonight's game versus the New York Rangers. Schluderburg, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Fresh Start and the Pinellas Ex Offender Re-entry Coalition.
For ten years, Schluderberg left his Chicago office each night and entered the Cook County jail to help inmates find hope. During the day, he worked as an international banker. At night, Herb taught personal finance and simply listened to those who are rarely heard. He decided to return to college to earn a Master's degree in Urban Ministry, and in 2006 moved to the Tampa Bay area to become a chaplain in the Pinellas County Jail. As a chaplain, Herb counseled over 5,000 inmates and observed that even though counseling inside the jail was helpful, mentoring outside of the jail would be more impactful to prevent recidivism. To address this he founded Fresh Start Mentoring at the Clearwater probation office in 2009.
Due to the success of the program, he was eventually asked to expand Fresh Start Mentoring to serve every probation office in Pinellas County. In 2016, at the urging of the Department of Juvenile Justice, Fresh Start began mentoring juveniles in the Pinellas County Juvenile Detention Center and they have started to bring their services to Paso County as well. Fresh Start has recruited and trained 178 volunteers to serve as mentors. These community members have given more than 15,000 hours of service to help others succeed. Through Herb's efforts, over 700 Tampa Bay residents leaving the criminal justice system have achieved "a fresh start."
Herb Schluderburg becomes the 341st 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 $17.15 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.