Norm Cookson holding the $50,000 check which he received on October 19 for being a Lightning Community Hero.

Norm Cookson had a humbling experience during the first period of the Tampa Bay Lightning game against the Florida Panthers on October 19. Jabil presented a $50,000 grant to Norm through the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes Program. The grant will benefit A Kid’s Place of Tampa Bay.

A Kid’s Place of Tampa Bay opened in 2009 with a mission to provide a safe, loving and nurturing home for foster children ranging from newborns through the age of 18. This unique, state-of-the-art, 60-bed facility for abused, neglected or abandoned children has provided a home to more than 1,500 children and has assisted more than 675 families.

Since 2012, Norm and his wife, Heidi Cookson, both have worked at A Kid’s Place of Tampa Bay as House Parents. Norm, who was once a foster care child himself, had a desire to work with them. Norm has made a positive difference in the lives of the children with his efforts, such as gaining their trust and building relationships.

Norm mentioned that since his arrival at A Kid’s Place of Tampa Bay, he has tried to think outside the box and develop tools to work with the kids, which includes music.

“I have put on at least 50 dances as well as play music all over campus and do house dance parties,” Norm said.

Elizabeth Frazier, senior vice president and philanthropy and community initiatives executive director of the Lightning Foundation, shared how Norm got selected.

“The committee reviewed hundreds of applications; Norm’s stood out as a finalist for the Lightning Community Hero through his dedication to the kids at A Kid’s Place of Tampa Bay,” Frazier said.

Jeff Vinik and his wife, Penny Vinik, established the Lightning Community Hero Program in 2011 to honor deserving heroes and funding to nonprofits within the Tampa Bay community. The Viniks pledged another $10 million dollars for the next five years to this program over the summer of this year.

The deadline to apply for a grant is Friday, February 11, 2022.

For more information, visit For more information about A Kid’s Place of Tampa Bay, visit

Previous articleNovember 5-11, 2021 Update: COVID-19 Data For Hillsborough County & Florida
Next articleCommunity Christmas Tree Lighting Is Back At Center Place
Tatiana Ortiz is a freelance writer with the Osprey Observer Newspaper. She began as an intern here in 2010 and has been writing since. Tatiana graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys photography, biking and being with her family.