The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Jose and Ampy Suarez as the 12th Lightning Community Heroes of the year this afternoon at the HOPE Youth Ranch, located in Hudson. The Suarez's, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to HOPE Youth Ranch
Jose Suarez, along with his wife Ampy, was living what they consider the American Dream, not one centered on money, but on selflessly helping at-risk children. The couple gave up a life of significant financial means to devote themselves to helping foster and special needs children. In 2002, they opened their home to three young foster boys and increased that number to 11 boys and girls within a few short months. The Suarez's were not satisfied with serving only as foster parents, so they gave up their home and jobs to start HOPE Youth Ranch.
In 2004, they established HOPE Youth Ranch, a sanctuary that defends, protects and promotes the welfare of foster children in their care and ensures the well-being of each child. Every Sunday they feed and administer provisions to more than 200 homeless individuals living on the streets of New Port Richey and Hudson.