Tampa FL - Vernon Ellinger was honored at the Tampa Bay Lightning game on Tuesday, March 30th, as the latest Lightning Community Hero. The program recognized grassroots heroes whose efforts help others less fortunate and strive to make a positive impact on the greater Tampa Bay Community. The Hero is also presented with a $50,000 grant on their behalf to benefit the charities of his or her choice.
Joshua House has been a vital part of the Tampa Bay community since 1992, providing a safe home with needed therapies for children with complex traumas. In 2020, the future of Joshua House was jeopardized, as the organization that previously was gifted the property and program design decided to sell it and move in a different direction. Friends of Joshua House (FOJH) Foundation stepped in and saved Joshua House by incurring the debt to purchase and restore Joshua House. This included the task of extensive renovations needed to improve the safety and sustainability of these 28 year old homes and park-like campus.
When he saw that Joshua House was in need, Vernon sprung to action. With the Executive Director working around the clock to present options to the FOJH Board, Vernon used his considerable business expertise to clarify the viable options and potential outcomes. Then, literally, the day after FOJH closed on the purchase of the campus, Vernon immediately began making a big impact in a variety of ways. His first order of business was quite literally, the business of getting Joshua House "to revenue" in his words, and ready for the children to return.
From that day forward, he has spent 4-5 days per week, 6 hours per day, for 7 straight months on the property: cleaning, painting, scrubbing, moving furniture, assembling things, disassembling things, and really just accelerating the complete rehab of this special place, and it couldn't have been done without him.
Congratulations to Vernon Ellinger, Joshua House would not be where it is without you!