TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Raymond Pawliclki as the 27th Lightning Community Hero this season during the first period of tonight's game versus the St. Louis Blues. Pawliclki, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate to Hillsborough County Veterans Helping Veterans, The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, St. Rita's Conference and St. Vincent de Paul District Council of Pasco County.
Over the last 10 years through the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), Pawliclki has personally assisted over 100 veterans in need both inside and outside the criminal justice system. Through the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP), he has personally assisted 16 indigent former felons re-enter society and assisted 37 indigent inmates inside the prison. This year Ray started the first "Getting Ahead While Getting Out" Re-Entry Program in the State of Florida at Zephyrhills Correctional Institution (ZCI) in this program veteran inmates investigate poverty and learn about budgeting both time and resources. The inmates create three plans: a short range 72-hour plan that starts with their release, a medium range one to six-month plan and a long-range resource development plan. Through the VVA and SVdP, Ray has been able to provide financial and social resources to allow the graduates to execute their plans.
In the last three years, Ray was instrumental in providing re-entry assistance to 23 veterans, financial assistance for 37 "Vets in Need" in East Pasco, material assistance -- such as clothing, toiletries and/or shoes for 52 incarcerated veterans -- and re-entry assistance for 16 non-veterans. He has also provided meaning and sense of self-respect for the 100 veterans incarcerated. The chapter purchased a license to show DVD movies in the chapel, transition classroom and donated sports equipment to the recreation yard for the general population to use. As a Home Visit Team Leader for SVdP Pawliclki has performed 45 home visits to assist families in need in East Pasco, the Home Visit Teams provide financial aid for rent, electricity, water, and medicine, as well as, food.
Raymond Pawliclki becomes the 350th 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 $17.6 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.