The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Will Markham as the Lightning Community Hero this evening during the first period of tonight’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Markham, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, presented by Jabil, will donate the money to Quantum Leap Farm and The Patriot Fund.
Command Chief Master Sergeant Markham retired from the Air Force in 2016, after a decorated 30-year career. In 2019, Markham, along with a close team of legal and medical professionals, started Project OVAT (One Veteran At a Time), to provide assistance to veterans navigating the VA office. Then, in January 2020, Markham also joined The Patriot Fund as their Executive Director. He has worked numerous hours through these nonprofits to fight for medical and legal rights and support for Veterans.
The grant tonight will be used to support the missions of Quantum Leap Farm and The Patriot Fund. Quantum Leap Farm will use the funds to help provide professionally facilitated equine therapy services. In all, the funds will help cover 272 therapeutic horseback riding sessions, 80 equine-assisted psychotherapy sessions, 40 equine assisted occupational therapy sessions, 40 therapy retreats for Veterans, and 3 Family Fun and Re-integration days for military service members are their families. The Patriot Fund will use the grant to support Project One Vet At a Time. These funds will help them continue to provide medical and legal assistance to veterans navigating Veterans Administration disability programs.
Markham became the 515th 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 $28.12 million to more than 700 unique nonprofits in the Greater Tampa Bay area. During the summer of 2021, the Viniks announced that the community hero program will give away another $10 million over the next five seasons.
This story was written by Tampa Bay Lightning: Lighting Community Hero