TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Thomas Atchison as the 24th Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Atchison, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to New Beginnings.
Atchison lost his parents at a young age, and facing adversity later on as he went through life, he decided to help those in need. He was drawn to the needs of United States war veterans, the homeless and underprivileged, so Atchison founded 'New Beginnings,' an organization that provides transitional housing and a homeless recovery program. The program serves up to approximately 150 people and supplies immediate necessities such as shelter, food and clothing for participants that have experienced mental or emotional issues, substance abuse, marital problems, and probation or unemployment.
Working tirelessly to assist others for the past 15 years, Atchison truly helps many that are in distress, often working seven days a week to ensure those less fortunate have a chance to function daily. Tonight's hero even uses his own personal money to help fund some of his initiatives to help people land on their feet. Atchison also serves on the Board of Directors for "Mission Tampa" and was instrumental in the opening of a dental clinic for the less fortunate.