Sister Eileen Boyle of Westlock Named 2013 Alberta Volunteer Citizen of the Year

Five Albertans recognized for the outstanding work they do in their communities

CALGARY, Alberta, June 5, 2013 /CNW/ - Direct Energy and the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association (AWNA) are pleased to announce that the winner of this year's Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award is Sister Eileen Boyle of Westlock, Alberta. Sister Eileen will receive a $1,000 cash award from Direct Energy and Direct Energy will make a donation of $5,000 to the Westlock and District Food Bank Association, a charity chosen by Sister Eileen, in her name.

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As a dedicated volunteer for many years, Sister Eileen is known throughout the community for her kindness and charity. Her passion for helping the less fortunate is inspiring and her compassion is contagious as she influences the lives of those around her.

"Sister Eileen's commitment to her causes through her volunteer work is extraordinary, from the countless hours she spends at the Westlock and District Food Bank to her involvement at the local hospital, she is the model volunteer citizen," said Tanis Kozak, Vice-President and General Manager, Direct Energy Canada. "Her ongoing dedication makes her a true example of what 'giving back to the community where you work and live' means and Direct Energy is proud to honour her with this award."

Nominated by her local MLA, Maureen Kubinec, Sister Eileen has been an irreplaceable member of the Westlock community since she was missioned to the Immaculata Hospital in Westlock in 1971 as a member of the Sisters of Charity. Since her retirement from nursing, she has devoted countless hours volunteering with the church and in the community.

As well as volunteering her time with the Westlock and District Food Bank Association, Sister Eileen also volunteers with other organizations including, the Westlock Historical Society, Pastoral Care, and the Westlock Hospital. She has also served on the board of Victims' Services, Affordable Housing, and Meals on Wheels.

Sister Eileen said, "This is unbelievable news, I'm so happy, this will be so great for the Food Bank," when she heard she'd been selected as the 2013 winner. "This is so exciting!"

"Sister Eileen Boyle is an inspiration to us all. Westlock is so fortunate to have a resident who exemplifies the spirit of giving. The Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association and Direct Energy are proud to recognize such a worthy recipient," said AWNA President, Murray Elliott.

In its ninth year, the award is sponsored by Direct Energy and the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association. This year close to 100 nominations were received. Nominations for the award were solicited from more than 100 Albertan communities. Four finalists were also selected for outstanding volunteer efforts in their communities and will each receive $1,000 toward their charitable organization of choice:

Joyce Johnston of Millet's nomination listed more than 32 organizations she volunteered with over her years volunteering. As she celebrates her 80th year, Joyce has great pride in the difference she's made in her community and people's lives. She spends many hours each week volunteering with community organizations, including the Peace Hills Bingo Hall in Wetaskiwin, Pipestone Community, Millet Museum, Wetaskiwin Museum, Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Alberta Special Olympics, Horizons, Canadian National Institute for the Blind and many more. She also devotes her time to the local Lions Club and Legion, agricultural societies, and youth and educational activities.

Joyce has chosen the Millet and District Historical Society as the recipient of the $1,000 award. More than 50 volunteers contribute over 6,000 volunteer hours annually to the Millet and District Historical Society. They take part in all aspects of operations including collections care, programming, clerical, dates exhibits, archival research and promotion.

Rita Krawiec of Swan Hills has a philosophy of "volunteers make a community." She has been involved in almost every non-profit organization in her community through her volunteer work. From youth groups and programs, including spearheading and running the Babysitter program, working with the Brownies and Guides and providing countless hours to the Swan Hills School; to the many hours dedicated to the Swan Hills Chamber of Commerce, the Swan Hills Community Club, the 50+ Graying and Staying and her many years working with Santa's Elves and the Food Bank. Rita is also a regular participant in community clean-ups and donates her time to teach students at the Swan Hills School the art of sewing and cooking.

Rita has chosen the Swan Hills Community Club to receive the $1,000 award. The Community Club is a local service organization that raises money for community projects and helps wherever they are needed.

Sylvia Krikun of Mayerthorpe has spent 33 years of volunteering at numerous organizations in her community. Since 1980 Sylvia has volunteered at Extendicare Nursing Home, playing piano for sing-alongs and assisting with special events. She also delivers Meals on Wheels, bringing a welcome meal and a cheery visit to those in need. Sylvia can be found at Pleasant View Lodge, an assisted-living facility in Mayerthorpe, and the Mayerthorpe Auxiliary Hospital, where she plays the piano regularly for sing-alongs, and volunteers with many fundraising activities and special holidays. She is involved with numerous other organizations in her community and devotes countless volunteer hours to those causes.

Sylvia has chosen the Fallen Four Memorial Society to receive the $1,000 award. The Fallen Four Memorial Society is a non-profit group that was formed when four RCMP officers were shot and killed near Mayerthorpe on March 3, 2005.

Ken Westwater is every community's "dream" volunteer. As a member of the Hythe Fire Department, Hythe Elks, and other community organizations, Ken is not only volunteering in the community in an organized way, but he's known locally as the person who goes above and beyond to help low-income families in need. Whether it's repairing a broken fence or fixing a leaky washing machine, Ken is the one to step-up and help-out or find someone who can. When the local food bank was running low on food, one call to Ken solved the problem. He rallied his team and drove around the town in the fire trucks collecting enough donations to stock the shelves. Ken truly is a volunteer that rises to the occasion when there is a need.

Ken has chosen the Hythe Volunteer Fire Department as the recipient of the $1,000 award. The Hythe Volunteer Fire Department provides Firefighting, Ice Rescue, High Angle Rescue, Vehicle Extrication, Swift Water Rescue, Emergency Medical, Hazardous Material Response, and Preventative Public Education services to the citizens of Hythe and the West County of Grande Prairie.

Direct Energy and the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association are proud to recognize these four finalists for the outstanding work they've done in their communities.

About Direct Energy
Direct Energy is one of North America's largest energy and energy-related services providers with over 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 states plus DC and 10 provinces in Canada. To learn more about Direct Energy, please visit www.directenergy.com.

About 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 over 120 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.

SOURCE: Direct Energy

For further information:

Jeff Lanthier, +1-905-943-6260, jeff.lanthier@directenergy.com

http://www.directenergy.com

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