TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning recognized Ricky Gallon as a Lightning Community Hero during the first period of tonight's game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Gallon, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will contribute the money to his charity of choice, Boys & Girls Club.
A native of Tampa, Florida, Gallon returned to his hometown following a successful professional basketball career to mentor Bay Area youths and teenagers who have become succumbed to negative influences such as drugs and crime in inner-city neighborhoods. Exposed to such vices himself as a child, Gallon recognized the significance of giving back to others and providing a positive environment for kids to grow up in, just as he was given some years ago. Today, after 10 years of service to the Boys & Girls Club, Gallon holds the position of Director of Community Relations. In this role, Gallon works tirelessly to build support from corporations and volunteers, dedicated to changing the course of kids' lives for the better.
In 2000 and 2003, Gallon played an instrumental role in leading a trip for low-income, inner-city kids to go to Africa. Today, one of the individuals present on the trip who is now a doctor still credits that opportunity with having changed her life in the direction towards success. In addition, Gallon often goes above and beyond to ensure kids from all backgrounds feel like they matter and have a chance for success. He frequently assists kids in applying for college scholarships, implores companies to conduct school supplies drives, and personally drives kids for special events when they have no other means of transportation. To date, thousands of youths have benefited in various life-changing ways due to Gallon's devotion to his community.