TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Reverend Watson Haynes as the 21st Lightning Community Hero this season during the first period of tonight's game against the Detroit Red Wings. Haynes, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate to Pinellas Urban League.
Throughout his lifetime of service and leadership, Haynes has positively impacted the Tampa Bay community while advocating for social justice. Haynes is a founding member and board leader of the Concerned Organization for Quality Education for Black Students and has been a leader at Faith Memorial Baptist Church for over 35 years. Haynes is also a lifetime member and leader of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, which focuses on the academic and social issues of African American males. As the President and CEO of the Pinellas County Urban League, Haynes is focused on the betterment of the community.
Haynes' service projects have included promoting literacy among children and adults, assisting the unemployed, and implementing drug prevention programs. In addition, Haynes also mentors young African American men and women to become leaders in the community. Haynes has received numerous recognitions for his volunteerism, including the Outstanding Community Service Award from the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and the Community Service Award from the National Association of Social Workers' Tampa Bay Chapter.
Haynes becomes the 386h 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 $19.45 million to more than 750 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.