TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Tom Burkett as the 10th Lightning Community Hero of the 2016-17 season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Columbus Blue Jackets. Burkett, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Troop Rewards.
Burkett has worked tirelessly since 2009 to provide hundreds of Rest and Relaxation (RnR) vacations to the proud men and women serving at MacDill Air Force Base, around the United States and those deployed overseas. By providing these RnR recovery vacations, he has helped many families to reconnect with their loved ones after long deployments. These vacations have also shown our military men and women, along with their families, that the local community appreciates and salutes their dedicated service to protecting our rights and freedoms.
The charity that Burkett started more than seven years ago continues to provide a way for the Tampa Bay community to honor and come together and give back to our Armed Forces that are deployed in the War Against Terror. Burkett was the first person to found a charity in the United States that specializes in providing RnR recovery vacations for active deployed military families. His hard work is making a profound difference in the lives of our deployed military forces.
Burkett becomes the 239th 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 $12.1 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area.