TAMPA BAY, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Titus O’Neil as the 32nd Lightning Community Hero of the 2016-17 season during the first period of the March 9, 2017, game versus the Minnesota Wild. O'Neil, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the United Way Suncoast, Wheel Chairs for Kids, Academy Prep and Unsigned Preps Inc.
Through his work with various nonprofit groups, including his work with WWE’s community relations programs such as Be a STAR, Make-A-Wish a Susan G. Komen, O’Neil has inspired change, raised resources, and helped children and adults throughout the Tampa Bay region and around the world lead better lives and build brighter futures.
O’Neil has helped more than 245 student athletes across the Tampa Bay area get into college the past six years; lead corporate volunteers in reading books to children in after-school programs; used his story to inspire employees from companies large and small to give, advocate, and volunteer; and taken part in the United Way’s Walking School Bus program in at-risk neighborhoods by escorting children to school on foot to make sure they get to school on time and enjoy a healthy breakfast. O'Neil hosts an annual Joy of Giving event, where he hands out toys to more than 1,000 children. He also visits kids with cancer in the hospital, including those who have lost their battle to the disease.
O’Neil becomes the 261st 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 the March 9 game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $13.2 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area. Last summer, the Vinik’s announced that the community hero program will give away another $10-million over the next five seasons.