The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Mike Wells as the 36th Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. Wells, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Ryan Wells Foundation, the Pinellas Education Foundation and the CWV/SNI Foundation.
Matt Carle (left) joined Lightning owner Jeff Vinik (right) to present Mike Wells with a check for $50,000.
Wells has endured extreme adversity and found a way to turn it into a positive. After his son, Ryan, passed away in a tragic car accident, Mike Wells made it his mission to help those who have similar dreams to his son achieve their goals. Wells set up the Ryan Wells Foundation to help Tampa Bay area youth follow their dreams of becoming professional chefs. Wells has provided funding and scholarships, through the Ryan Wells Foundation, for over 50 students to attended culinary arts school. In addition, Wells has donated money to high schools to improve cooking equipment and purchase food.
The Ryan Wells Foundation received a Pinellas Education Foundation Business Partner of the Year award and the Ford Next Generation Learning Recognition award in 2013. Additionally, the foundation was a finalist in the education category for the Tampa Bay Business Journal's Non-profit Awards.