Tampa, Florida -- On Wednesday, March 27, St. Joesph's Children's Hospital, along with Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos, honored the winners of the 16th annual Kids Are Heroes campaign during a special ceremony.
Stamkos, who is also the campaign's spokesman, presented every child nominated for Kids Are Heroes with a trophy and the winners in each age category will receive additional special gifts.
During a six-week nomination period, parents, teachers, guidance counselors and neighbors submitted stories highlighting heroic and selfless deeds of nearly 170 children ages 5 to 18 throughout our community.
In January, former Tampa Bay Lightning Team Captain Dave Andreychuk and ThunderBug helped hospitalized kids at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital choose the winners in three age categories.
Winners in the 5-8 Year Old Category
THIRD PLACE - Callee Connon, Pinellas County, St. Petersburg
This hero spent six weeks running 11 lemonade stands, used 27 pounds of lemonade, and encouraged countless neighbors to help raise donations to buy bikes for underprivileged kids for Christmas. She called it "Bikes for Buddies" and raised more than $2,000 through donations in exchange for a free cup of lemonade. Thanks to her successful fundraiser, she was able to deliver 33 bikes to the Christmas Toy Shop.
SECOND PLACE - Campbell McElaney, Pasco County, Land O' Lakes
This hero has the same name as a famous brand of soup. So, each year instead of accepting gifts for her birthday, she asks guests to bring cans of this particular brand of soup instead of presents. After her birthday party, she takes the soup cans to a community food bank to help feed families in need. So far she has donated a total of 3,295 cans - and she's only 6 years old!
FIRST PLACE - Sophia Rosenberg, Hillsborough County, Apollo Beach
This hero's mother had a major anaphylaxis reaction to a new medication. Her mother called 911, but moments later she collapsed and stopped breathing. Sophia quickly retrieved her mother's EpiPen and administered it, and is credited with saving her mother's life. She helped the response teams when they arrived and stayed by her mother's side while they stabilized her and took her to the hospital.
Winners in the 9-12 Year Old Category
THIRD PLACE - Logan Agnew, Hillsborough County, Carrollwood
From an early age, this hero with a generous spirit has enjoyed giving more than receiving. After two of his friends were diagnosed with leukemia, Logan used his own birthday and Christmas money to start the Tampa branch of LEGOS for Leukemia. He recently donated more than $1,500 worth of LEGOS to St. Joseph's Children's Hospital, and the toys will be used to help entertain and comfort hospitalized kids throughout the year.
SECOND PLACE - Jasmine Johnson, Hillsborough County, Town N' Country
This hero saved her caregiver's life by quickly calling 911 when she began having stroke symptoms. While waiting for help, she called other important contacts and kept her caregiver's 5-year-old daughter calm. Her quick action is credited with saving her caregiver's life.
FIRST PLACE - N'Jhari Jackson, Hillsborough County, Carrollwood
This hero is involved in several projects that help local hospitalized kids and encourage young boys to read and discuss books. He started a "Boys Read with Pride" program, and the book club continues to grow and is now helping kids at three different elementary schools. He also raised funds to help deliver blankets to the families of wounded veterans, and delivered pajamas and toys to children in the hospital on Christmas day.
Winners in the 13-18 Category
THIRD PLACE - Ben Schulte, Hillsborough County, Plant City
On a mission to earn his Eagle Scout Service Project, this long-time Boy Scout took on the task of building the Plant City Police Department a K9 unit training course. His efforts and project leadership resulted in a new K9 training course complete with nine obstacles. Now, the K9 team no longer has to drive to another city to train, and they have even won several K9 unit competitions due to being able to train their dogs on a regular basis.
SECOND PLACE - Keith Purvis, Hillsborough County, Plant City
While swimming at his apartment complex pool last year, this hero saw a 2-year-old boy fall into the water. None of the adults noticed the child go into the water, and within seconds he began to sink. Keith grabbed the young child from the bottom of the pool and worked fast to get him out of the water. If not for his quick action, the young child could have become a victim of the number one cause of death for kids under 4 in Florida --- drowning.
FIRST PLACE - Weeki Wachee High School Football Team, Hernando County, Weeki Wachee
These heroes came together as a team to support their high school principal's son, who is undergoing treatment for cancer. More than 60 Varsity and Junior Varsity players shaved their heads in honor of the 13-year-old, who is battling cancer for the third time in his young life. The heroes also created T-shirts and wristbands, hosted fundraisers and started a trust to help with the family's medical bills.
BayCare Health System