Responsibility

North Olmsted Couple Named Volunteer Citizens of the Year

Cleveland, OH - Chuck and Pat Millheim of North Olmsted, Ohio, are the winners of the Direct Energy 2010 Volunteer Citizens of the Year award. The Millheims will receive a $1,000 cash prize and the Butternut Primary School of North Olmsted will receive a $5,000 donation in their honor.

Most people who retire do not plan to continue on virtually fulltime as volunteers, but that is what the Millheims have done. After retiring as teachers at various Cuyahoga County schools, they decided to volunteer at Butternut, their neighborhood public school. Their love of teaching and students led them quickly from helping for a few hours a week to donating four full days a week and frequently more.

"Their commitment was so great that they were remorseful when they couldn't come to school due to their own illness or the caring of an ailing mother," said Amy Muck, Butternut Primary School media specialist and volunteer coordinator in her nomination.

Muck cited their willingness to help in any way that is needed - from sorting papers to working one-on-one with students. The Millheims also offer encouragement and advice to the teachers and staff. "Their joy in serving others through volunteering is affecting the next generation of leaders," Muck said.

"Volunteers by nature tend to avoid the spotlight," said Cory Byzewski, vice president and general manager for Direct Energy. "We believe it is important to recognize volunteers because it reminds us of the good things happening in our communities. We also hope it inspires others to begin or continue to contribute in big and small ways."

Direct Energy joined with the Cleveland Sun News Group and its 11 member newspapers to sponsor the Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award. The award was open to individuals and groups that reside within a community served by one of the member newspapers.

About Direct Energy

Direct Energy, one of North America's leading integrated energy companies, supplies natural gas to more than 200,000 customers in Ohio. The company has operated in Ohio since 2004. Direct Energy also provides energy related services to residential and business customers through its U.S. Home Services business that is headquartered in Miami Township, Ohio. The company, a subsidiary of Centrica, also operates in Texas, the northeastern United States and across Canada. 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.

About 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.

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For further information, please contact:

Shabina Zakaria
Direct Energy
713.877.3611
Shabina.Zakaria@directenergy.com

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