TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Zack Aldridge as the 21st Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game against the Washington Capitals. Aldridge, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Jesuit High School and Metropolitan Ministries.
Valtteri Filppula (left) joined Lightning owner Jeff Vinik (right) to present Zack Aldridge with a check for $50,000.
Aldridge grew up hungry and homeless most of his childhood, being served by volunteers at Metropolitan Ministries. When his circumstances improved, Aldridge decided to "pay it forward" as he says, spending significant time volunteering at Metropolitan Ministries directly serving the hungry and homeless. When he was homeless, he was ashamed and embarrassed to associate himself with people in similar situations. Now, ironically, he has gained a different view and wants to be around those in need and help be a part of giving them better living conditions.
Growing up without parents around, Aldridge had the remarkable initiative to homeschool himself while living on the road and attended school when he could. Aldridge understood that an education was his path out of poverty and into a better life. He will graduate next May from Jesuit High School with a long list of extracurricular activities. He will be the first from his family to graduate from high school or college.