TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Hinks and Elaine Shimberg as the 50th Lightning Community Heroes of the year. The Shimbergs, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Straz Center and St. Joseph's Hospital.
Tonight's community heroes have been boundless advocates in the fight against breast cancer. In 1981, Elaine was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 44. She received a mastectomy and radiation treatments at St. Joseph's hospital in order to combat her illness. Nearly 30 years later, she is still cancer-free and became inspired to help other women battle breast cancer along with her husband Hinks.
In 2012, they opened the Shimberg Breast Center at St. Joseph's Women's Hospital, which has provided comprehensive breast cancer services to women throughout the region. The center supplies digital mammogram machines that are able to catch breast cancer early, leading to more effective diagnoses and eventual treatments. The Shimberg's immense dedication towards breast cancer awareness and treatment has increased the quality of life amongst breast cancer patients.
Hinks has left his fingerprint in the Tampa Bay area in many ways, most notably with the Straz Center in downtown Tampa. He was one of the pioneers that brought the center into being and currently serves on the board, chairing its foundation. The Straz Center has a theatre named after the couple because of their commitment to the arts in the Bay area, named the Shimberg Playhouse. Hinks has also been heavily involved with the University of South Florida since the early 1960s, currently serving on the university's foundation board.
The Shimberg's become the 229th Lightning Community Heroes 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 $11.6 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area.