TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored John Sykes and the Sykes family as the 15th Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game against the Washington Capitals. Sykes, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Police Athletic League. This is the first time a family has been recognized as the community hero.
The Sykes family has been one of the major philanthropic leaders in the Tampa Bay community for many years, and has made an unwavering commitment to supporting local heroes. John Sykes has provided numerous educational opportunities for deserving youth and children in the area that are less fortunate. Nearly 20 years ago Sykes started a luncheon that would become a premier event honoring local heroes in Tampa Bay at the annual Our Heroes Luncheon. Thousands of local police officers attend the luncheon and eight students a year are awarded the Coy Sykes Scholarship at the event. The Sykes have donated approximately $750,000 to fund the education of more than 130 students through the program.
During local law enforcement times of tragedy, the Sykes family has always responded. After the deaths of fallen first responders, John Sykes made generous donations that allowed the Tampa Police Department to purchase Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems. Sykes also donated money to TPD for a state-of-the-art fitness center to keep law enforcement officials in top condition for the daily obstacles they face.
The Lightning invited all 14 Community Hero winners from earlier in the year to the game this evening to sit in a suite. The 2012-13 Community Heroes will also be honored during tonight's game and will be shown on the scoreboard during the second intermission.