Staff Report

The Lithia Springs Elementary fifth grade class celebrated its completion of elementary school by helping many Tampa Bay area children who are battling cancer.  The second annual Zach Tucker Kickball Tournament was held to raise funds for the Giving Hope through Faith Foundation as well as learn what it takes to be recognized as a HERO.  Over $548 was raised by the class and will be used to help the families sponsored by the foundation.  The funds were presented to Dirk and Sherry Tucker, Zach’s parents during the fifth grade celebration and HERO award presentation in June.

The HERO Award is given to one fifth- grade student at the end of each school year that most emulates the characteristics displayed by Zach, who was a former Lithia Springs student that courageously battled brain cancer during his third-grade year in 2005-2006. The characteristics required are H- happy attitude, E –excellent student, R- respected friend and O-outstanding athlete.  There were six nominees selected by the teachers and students.  Each nominee was honored at the celebration.  The nominees were Kayla Simpson, Adam Gorman, Eli Griess, Matthew Harrity, Vittorio Ruiz and Brianna Langlois.  All of the nominees were very deserving of being named the 2013 HERO, but after much consideration Adam Gorman was selected with Kayla Simpson coming in as a first runner-up.  “We are so thrilled to see the kids learn how working together can make a big impact for those in need,” stated the Tuckers. “These funds will bring many smiles to some very ill children.”  To learn more about the foundation visit

The next community event for the Giving Hope through Faith Foundation will be the fourth annual “Make them Smile…Give them Hope” Zach Tucker Memorial 5K Race, which will be held on Saturday, October 26, with an 8 a.m. start at Lithia Springs Elementary School, located at 4332 Lynx Paw Tr., in Valrico.  Help them to bring a smile and hope to families that are battling cancer by participating in this 5K, which will be run through River Hills.  Every dollar raised will be used to encourage and support children battling cancer in the Tampa Bay area.  Entry fee is $25, $30 day of the event.  For more information, see or call Sherry Tucker at 685-6773.


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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.