TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Marcus Fernandez as the 29th Lightning Community Hero this season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Calgary Flames. Fernandez, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate to Make-A-Wish of Southern Florida, HorsePower for Kids, Hope Children's Home, Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, and Feeding Tampa Bay.
For the past eight years Fernandez has served as a Wish Granter for Make-A-Wish. As a Wish Granter he is the first contact with the families. Marcus has recruited volunteers, businesses and individuals to commit to ongoing support of Make-A-Wish. In just eight years, Marcus' personal fundraising yielded over $640,000, which has helped fund the wishes of approximately 80 local children with life threatening medical conditions. He rallies others to get involved - tapping community leaders to volunteer, buy tables at events, sponsor walk teams and donate items.
In 2015, Marcus, in combination with his family law firm Kinney, Fernandez & Boire, P.A., hosted two external Make-A-Wish events. Because of him, Kinney, Fernandez & Boire, launched a community action initiative that empowers employees to give back to Tampa Bay through paid days off for volunteering, Pay-It-Forward Fun(d) Money for employees to donate to local interests, and group volunteer events. Fernandez is also the founder, and president of the local chapter of the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence. He has served on the Board of Directors, as Advisory Board Chair, multiple events chair and on numerous committees for the University of Tampa Board of Fellows, the Advisory Board for Tampa Catholic High School and the Education Committee for the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce.
Marcus Fernandez becomes the 351st 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 $17.65 million to more than 400 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.