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Alberta Volunteer Citizen Of The Year Award Launches For 2011

Calgary, Alberta (1/12/2011) - Direct Energy and the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association (AWNA) invite Albertans to help recognize our province's remarkable volunteer spirit with the seventh annual Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award. Nominations are now being accepted and will close Friday, April 1, 2011.

According to The Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating (CSGVP) , Canadians volunteered 2.1 billion hours or the equivalent of 1.1 million individuals working full time in 2007. The Alberta Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award program is designed to recognize the significant efforts of these individuals whose contributions make their communities a better place to live.

"Year-after-year, we continue to be humbled and inspired by the heart-warming stories of Albertans and their spirit of generosity," says Tanis Kozak, Vice-President and General Manager, Canada, Direct Energy. "We all know someone in our local community who goes out of his or her way to improve the life of fellow citizens; it's this contribution, often unrecognized, we hope to highlight with this award."

The Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award is an extension of Direct Energy's Community Investment philosophy that encourages employees to volunteer their time and energy to causes or organizations in their local communities.

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 AWNA newspapers across Alberta;
  • $1,000 cash grant to four semi-finalists' organization/cause of choice in their respective communities; and
  • special recognition of the four semi-finalists.

Last years' winner, Tammy Sather, chose the Hughenden Firefighters Association as the beneficiary of her $5,000. The money was used to buy a portable electric suction unit and a set of rescue struts to give better and safer support of vehicles when they flip on their side.

"We're looking forward to once again recognizing individuals who work hard to make our communities great places to live," said AWNA President Ossie Sheddy. "The selfless actions of past winners like Tammy and many of the other nominees often go unrewarded. This program is designed to showcase appreciation for their efforts. I invite AWNA member newspaper publishers and editors and community leaders to nominate their outstanding volunteers. The Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award is a great opportunity to recognize invaluable volunteers and to benefit your community."

The Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award is open to residents who reside within a community served by an AWNA member newspaper. Applicants can either self-nominate or be nominated by another individual or group. Nominations should be no longer than 750 words in length and detail the specific contribution the individual or group has made to the local community through improving the quality of life for fellow citizens. The nominations also need to profile the designated organization and how that organization would use the $5,000 donation.

Nominations must be submitted to the AWNA by April 1, 2011. A selection committee, formed of two representatives from the AWNA and two appointed by Direct Energy, will review award applications and select the finalists and winning individual or group.

Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award rules and details can be found online at or can be picked up at AWNA member newspaper offices.

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.

About the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association

Alberta's community newspapers reflect the images, thoughts and everyday happenings of the communities they serve. While these communities may vary in size; from tiny, isolated locations to bustling suburban centres, they share one important feature - a strong weekly newspaper. Today there are 118 member newspapers throughout Alberta and the Northwest Territories. They boast a combined circulation of 900,460. The smallest newspaper circulates 443 copies each week; the largest - 127,593. We are part of a Canada-wide network of community newspapers through the Canadian Community Newspapers Association (CCNA). Together with six other provincial associations, we represent nearly 650 newspapers.

For further information, please contact:

Lynzey MacRae
Public Relations
Direct Energy

Maurizia Hinse
Professional Development and Communication
Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association

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