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Ben Carpenter named first Lightning Community Hero

$50,000 will be donated to Junior Achievement

Monday, 10.17.2011 / 8:08 PM ET / Community
By Peter Pupello  - Lightning Beat Reporter
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Ben Carpenter named first Lightning Community Hero

Ben Carpenter, a 16-year-old high school student enrolled in King High’s IB program, is the first of 41 individuals to be recognized this season as a Lightning Community Hero.

On Monday, during the Lightning’s home-opener against the Florida Panthers, he received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, which he will contribute to the charity of his choice, Junior Achievement.

As a 16-year-old high school student currently enrolled in King High’s International Baccalaureate program, Carpenter established his own 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to help others in need. His program, Ben’s Mends, restores old, damaged books to mint condition, and then donates them to worthy charitable organizations within the community including assisted living facilities, homeless shelters and children’s homes.

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Despite suffering from Spinal Muscular Atrophy, with which he was diagnosed as a child, Carpenter has exhaustively served his community in a number of other various service endeavors. In 2007, he was honored as a recipient of Nestle’s ‘Very Best In Youth’ Award, and still today continues to serve as a frequent volunteer at other non-profit organizations including Junior Achievement and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He notes his most memorable community service experience as serving as Patient Ambassador of the annual Shriners Hospital East-West Shrine Game.

In addition to playing an integral role in providing his time and service to others within the Tampa Bay community, Carpenter holds the title of captain of the nationally-ranked Tampa Thunder power-wheelchair soccer team. Among the other recreational activities that Carpenter enjoys are scuba diving and piloting airplanes.

Nominate a hero or learn more about the Community Hero program by clicking here.