Responsibility

Cleveland Volunteer Citizen Of The Year Award 2011

Cleveland, OH -In an effort to help recognize Cleveland's amazing volunteer spirit, Direct Energy and the Sun News are proud to announce the launch of the second annual Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award. Nominations are now being accepted and will close Thursday, July 21, 2011.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 62.8 million people volunteered at least once between September 2009 and September 2010. The Direct Energy Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award is designed to recognize these invaluable volunteers whose contributions make their communities a better place to live.

"Volunteers are the silent heroes of our communities. They give their time, energy and skills freely to help their neighbors, friends and often strangers; and we as a company are proud of so many employees who in the last year volunteered over 10,000 hours of their time, said Cory Byzewski, vice president and general manager for Direct Energy, "We know how important a role volunteers play and we want to recognize their achievements. I'd encourage everyone to take some time and nominate their outstanding volunteer to help us in search of the 2011 Volunteer Citizen of the Year."

The Volunteer Citizen of the Year Awardis an extension of an existing Direct Energy program that encourages company employees to volunteer their time and energy to a cause or an organization in their local community.

The award itself consists of:

  • $1,000 cash prize to the winner;
  • $5,000 cash grant to the winner's organization/cause of choice in their respective community
  • recognition of the winner's achievement through a commemorative award, article and photo to be published in Sun newspapers across Cleveland

Last years' winners, Chuck and Pat Millheim of North Olmstead, chose the Butternut Primary School as the beneficiary of their $5,000. The money was used to purchase new books for the school library.

"Last year we were amazed at the number of inspiring stories we received about volunteers in our community who go out of their way to help improve the quality of life in their communities," said Linda Kinsey, executive editor of Sun News. "This program is a great way to help showcase and appreciate these selfless volunteers for their efforts."

The Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award is open to residents of any of the 47 Greater Cleveland communities served by Sun News. Individuals can either nominate themselves or be nominated by another individual or group. Nominations should be no longer than 750 words and detail the specific contributions the individual or group has made to improve the community through volunteer service. The nomination should also profile the designated organization and how it would use the $5,000 donation from Direct Energy.

Nominations must be submitted by July 21, 2011. A selection committee from Direct Energy will review the submissions, and the winner will be announced in October in all 11 Sun News weekly newspapers.

Complete rules and other information is available online at www.cleveland.com/sun or www.directenergy.com/vcoy-cleveland.

About Direct Energy

Direct Energy is one of North America's largest energy and energy-related services providers with more than 6 million residential and commercial customer relationships. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (LSE:CNA), one of the world's leading integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in 46 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and 10 provinces in Canada. Direct Energy has operated in Ohio since 2004 and supplies natural gas and electricity to thousands of customers in the state. Direct Energy's commitment to helping others extends beyond Ohio. The company partners with community-based organizations throughout North America to aid them in trying to end poverty and homelessness.

Sun News

Headquartered in Valley View, Ohio, Sun News has 11 weekly newspapers serving 47 Greater Cleveland area communities in Cuyahoga, Lorain, Medina and Geauga counties. Founded in 1969 and one of the largest chains of paid weekly newspapers in the United States, Sun News is a subsidiary of Advance Publications with over 258,000 weekly readers.

For further information, please contact:

Shabina Zakaria

Direct Energy

713.877.3611

Shabina.Zakaria@directenergy.com

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