TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Margaret Palmer as the 26th Lightning Community Hero of the 2015-16 season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Detroit Red Wings. Palmer, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Hillsborough House of Hope and Gracepoint Mental Health Care.
Tonight's community hero has shown compassion and dedication for suffering women in prisons throughout Hillsborough County. Palmer began her service as a CHAT (Come Hideaway and Talk) lady. For 20 years, she offered incarcerated women a chance to vent feelings and troubling thoughts. After coming to the realization that many women were returning to prison due to lack of stable, drug-free and supportive community housing, she decided to take action by creating the Hillsborough House of Hope with assistance from community partners such as Hyde Park United Methodist Church.
Since the non-profit's inception, at least 160 women have been given the opportunity to have their lives changed forever. 78 of these women were able to make full use of this program and became sober. Palmer intends to continue assisting incarcerated women with one-on-one interaction in order for them to fully recover.
Palmer becomes the 205th Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the 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 $10.4 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area.