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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


 

January 27, 2012  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Lightning hero award benefits TJFS, 3 others


At left, Avi Davidson receives a hug from his mom, Lea Merrill Davidson-Bern, as he is named a Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero during a recent Lightning game. At left, Avi Davidson receives a hug from his mom, Lea Merrill Davidson-Bern, as he is named a Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero during a recent Lightning game. In 2009, Avi Davidson suffered an electrical shock and fall that left him paralyzed and facing a long recovery from severe injuries, but instead of giving up, he regarded his survival as a second chance at life.

He seized that chance with an optimistic spirit and devotion to serve others, and for doing so he was recently named a Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero – an honor that came with a $50,000 check for him to distribute to his favorite charities. The award was presented during the Jan. 12 game between the Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes.

Davidson chose to give $35,000 to Tampa Jewish Family Services (TJFS), the agency that nominated him for the award, and to distribute the remaining $15,000 among Chai Lifeline, Gift of Life and Chabad of Tampa Bay.


Below, Davidson presents Tampa Jewish Family Services CEO Michael Barnett with a check for $35,000 out of the $50,000 charitable allotment he received from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Below, Davidson presents Tampa Jewish Family Services CEO Michael Barnett with a check for $35,000 out of the $50,000 charitable allotment he received from the Tampa Bay Lightning. At every home game the Lightning name a Community Hero and present a $50,000 check – a commitment this season of $2 million to charitable donations.

Davidson’s mother, Lea Merrill Davidson- Bern, food bank and volunteer coordinator for TJFS, was on hand at the game to give him a big hug.

“When I think of a community hero, I think of Avi Davidson. His ability to help others while overcoming adversity at a young age is remarkable,” said Michael Barnett, CEO of TJFS.

Davidson, 18, is a volunteer for a variety of Jewish, military, veteran and charitable groups and is currently working to complete his high school education at Gaither High School, where he is an honor student.

According to Barnett, “Davidson is not defined by his accident, but by his inspirational spirit of volunteerism and desire to help others. He is a true hero, to me, to TJFS and to the Tampa Bay Lightning …”

In the fall of 2009, Davidson climbed an electric pole to take photographs of the sunset and accidentally came in contact with a high voltage wire. The fall from the pole left him with second and third degree burns over the majority of his body plus the loss of his dominant hand, while also paralyzing him from the waist down. Even after coming out of a coma and spending months in the hospital, Davidson’s attitude was one characterized by gratitude for another chance at life. He is committed to living a full and meaningful life and firmly believes his second chance will not be wasted.

Last summer, Davidson had the opportunity to attend a summer camp in New York, Camp Simcha Special, where he inspired and motivated hundreds of youth as he spoke about his injury, recovery and unwavering faith. Davidson also recently started volunteering at the Tampa Veterans’ Administration, focusing on the needs of those with spinal cord injuries. He has been a supportive volunteer at the “A-Packagefrom Home” program and other programs supporting the military.

In October 2011, and in commemoration of his second year of survival, Davidson co-managed a Tampa Bay Bone Marrow testing drive with the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation for those suffering lifethreatening illnesses.


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