TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Sister Anne Dougherty as a Lightning Community Hero during the first period of tonight's game against the New Jersey Devils. Dougherty, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will contribute the money to her charity of choice, Academy Prep.
As Graduate Support Director at Academy Prep, Dougherty serves with grace and humility as a mentor to students enrolled in the school, which provides a quality education and additional enrichment opportunities to kids living in low-income areas. Often sacrificing her own free time for the good of others, Dougherty is the driving force behind many of her students' success.
Dougherty's charitable endeavors, however, are not strictly limited to just children in need. Beginning in the late 1980s, Dougherty served as chaplain at St. Joseph's Hospital, administering medicine to the sick and their families. Shortly after, through her work with the Francis House, she was one of few individuals at the time who openly embraced patients with AIDS, providing them with emotional support during a time in which they were often dismissed as members of a marginalized community.
Recently, Dougherty donated one of her kidneys to a fellow Sister suffering from vital organ failure. The recipient, who also heads her own non-profit organization, now has the ability to continue her ministry as a result of Dougherty's selfless act. In addition, apart from her service to Academy Prep, Dougherty is also a liaison for local law enforcement officers in her role as chaplain for the FBI, TPD, and HCSO. Whenever an immediate and horrifying crisis occurs, such as the shooting of a law enforcement officer, Dougherty is there to provide comfort, support, prayer and a listening ear. She administers aid to officers' families and the entire law enforcement community in times of grief, sorrow, and uncertainty, when people most need someone to lean on.