TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Kelly Kowall as the sixth Lightning Community Hero this season during the first period of tonight's game versus the New York Rangers. Kowall, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate to My Warrior's Place.
Kowall created My Warrior's Place, a retreat center for military service members and first responders, after her son lost his life while serving in the U.S. Army. She turned her tragedy into a way to profoundly impact the lives of American heroes while honoring her son's legacy. My Warrior's Place provides a sanctuary for veterans, military service members and their families to mentally and physically heal in a calm environment.
Through the retreat center and programs at My Warrior's Place, Kowall has positively impacted the lives of over 557 active military personnel, 1,173 veterans, 62 first responders and 178 Blue, Silver, White and Gold star families. In addition, Kowall selflessly contributes over 60 volunteer hours each week at My Warrior's Place and speaks to various organizations in the Tampa Bay area.
The donation will directly benefit My Warrior's Place retreat center and healing programs. The programs will provide American heroes and their families with fun and relaxing experiences to strengthen family bonds and community ties. Kowell hopes that My Warrior's Place will be known in the Tampa Bay area and beyond as a place where American Heroes know that they will always be supported.
Kowall becomes the 374th 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 $18.70 million to more than 750 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.