TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Leonard Black as the 22nd Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game against the Montreal Canadiens. Black, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Honor Flight West Central Florida.
An American war hero, Black served the United States military for more than 25 years, defending the country during World War II. After losing his son at the age of 24, he was inspired to help serve other people. His wife of 54 years also suffers from Parkinson's disease and made him promise that he would always help others. Black is a crucial church volunteer distributing food to 28 families across the Tampa Bay area. He also coordinates patriotic observances for Hillsborough County.
While in the military, Black attained the highest enlisted rank, Chief Master Sergeant. Being such a devoted military hero, Black saw the need to help the 32,000 World War II veterans living in West Central Florida to get to Washington, D.C. for free to see their memorials built on the National Mall. He has helped organize honor flights for more than 500 local World War II military heroes.