Vincent Jackson, just back in town after representing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2013 Pro Bowl, has made plans to watch the hometown hockey team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, take on the Winnipeg Jets Friday night. Oh, and he plans to bring several friends along.
Actually, more like several thousand.
Through his recently-founded Jackson in Action 83 Foundation, the all-star Buccaneer wideout has partnered with the Lightning to purchase 2,000 tickets to Friday night’s game to be distributed to military families at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base. A staunch supporter of the military, Jackson focuses his foundation’s work on those who serve the country in such a capacity.
The Lightning have helped the Bay area newcomer continue this important work and the SunSports’ Lightning Express has even been dispatched to MacDill to ferry some of the base members to the arena. Jackson will meet the Express at the base and ride back into downtown Tampa with his new friends. The Lightning will welcome the Buccaneer receiver with a red carpet entrance before the puck drops at 7:30 p.m.
“One of the joys of being in Tampa Bay is level of team work and support we all share for vital causes,” said Jackson through the Lightning’s official web site. “Nowhere is that more apparent than in the sporting community. The Lightning supporting the Jackson in Action 83 Foundation is a perfect example.”
Jackson’s tickets will be distributed to a number of groups, including the MacDill Air Force Base 6th Air Mobility Wing, US Central Command/SOCENT, US Special Operations Command, USO, Army Reserve Medical Command and Support Our Troops. All those in attendance on Friday night will have a chance to meet Jackson on the west plaza before the game, and behind section 112 during the second intermission. Jackson’s foundation will also be auctioning off a Lightning jersey bearing his signature.
In addition to helping military families and charities come to the game free of charge, Jackson will appear on the Thunder Alley stage on the west plaza before the game. Fans at the Times Forum will also be able to meet him and get autographs behind section 112 during the second intermission. The Jackson in Action 83 Foundation will be auctioning off a Lightning jersey autographed by Jackson during the game.