TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Linda and the late Tom McEwen as the 49th Lightning Community Heroes of the 2015-16 season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Pittsburgh Penguins. The McEwen's, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the American Red Cross, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Shriners Hospital and Joshua's House.
Tonight's community hero embarked on an adventurous journey with her husband Tom before he passed away in 2011 after a lengthy battle with cancer. Tom was a former sports editor and columnist for the Tampa Tribune. He wrote over 10,000 columns during his career while growing his staff from seven to 61 writers. On top of his reporting prowess, he played an integral part in leading the charge with Phil Esposito and Mayor Sandy Freedman for the Tampa Bay area to land an NHL franchise back in the early 1990s.
Tom played such a big role in bringing Tampa Bay the Lightning that the press box at Amalie Arena is named after him. Tom's dedication to sports advocacy has transformed the sports scene in Tampa Bay. To this day, Linda continues to build his civic activism in order to advance the sports scene even further within the region.
The McEwen's become the 228th Lightning Community Heroes since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the 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 $11.55 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area.