As released by the Tampa Bay Lightening news page, the Tampa Bay Lightning honored Sonya Bryson-Kirksey as the Lightning Community Hero this evening during the first period of tonight’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. Bryson-Kirksey, who received a $100,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, presented by Jabil, will donate the money to Support the Troops and Multiple Sclerosis Research. 

After serving 20 years in the United States Air Force, Bryson-Kirksey continues to find ways to give back to the military community. She sings at military events or military appreciation nights and also spends her free time volunteering with military organizations such as Support the Troops. Additionally, Bryson-Kirksey has been a tireless advocate for Multiple Sclerosis after her own diagnosis in 2015. She has spent countless hours fundraising for research and spreading awareness about the disease. 

The grant will be used to help Support the Troops continue to fulfill their mission. Support the Troops aims to assist those who protect our country overseas by sending them care packages while serving on deployment. The funding will be used to support this initiative and other operational costs. Additionally, Bryson-Kirksey is donating funds to Multiple Sclerosis research. 

Bryson-Kirksey became the 502nd 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 tonight’s game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $26.3 million to more than 600 unique nonprofits in the Greater Tampa Bay area. During the summer of 2021, the Viniks announced the community hero program will give away another $10 million over the next five seasons. 

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