Winner and finalists recognized just in time for Volunteer Week April 15 to 21
CALGARY, Alberta, April 12, 2012 /CNW/ - Direct Energy and the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association (AWNA) are celebrating volunteer week by presenting this year's Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award to Penny Steffen of Grimshaw, Alberta. As a dedicated volunteer in her community, Penny gives hundreds of hours each year to numerous organizations without ever asking for anything in return. Her dedication to a long list of community organizations includes volunteering at the Peace River Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (SPCA).
"Ms. Steffen's commitment to Grimshaw, demonstrated through her involvement in over 13 community organizations and programs, makes her the epitome of a Volunteer Citizen," said Tanis Kozak, Direct Energy's Vice-President and General Manager, Canada. "Her continuous dedication makes her a true example of what 'giving back to the community where you work and live' means."
Ms. Steffen will receive a $1,000 cash award from Direct Energy as well as a plaque signifying her achievement. In addition, Direct Energy will make a donation of $5,000 to the Peace River SPCA, a charity chosen by Ms. Steffen, in her name.
Nominated by her employer, Dr. Tara Guglich, Ms. Steffen is recognized as a strong community builder who believes in helping her community thrive. She has become an instrumental part of the Peace River SPCA where she started as an active volunteer for a number of years, and four years ago became a director on the board. She has brought many positive changes to the organization and accomplished many daunting tasks in a short period of time, allowing the organization to flourish.
As well as volunteering her time with the SPCA, Penny also volunteers with a long list of organizations including, Grimshaw Curling Club, Grimshaw High School, Alberta Winter and Summer Games Committees, Alberta Pond Hockey Championships, Community Services Advisory Board, Centennial Park Society, Grimshaw Agricultural Society, and Grande Prairie Regional College Animal Health Technology Advisory Board.
Ms. Steffen said, "We are looking to build a new building for the SPCA, so this donation will greatly help this project," when she heard she'd been selected as the 2012 winner. "This is so exciting!"
"What's great about this award is that we get to recognize people like Penny for their selfless contributions and also give financial support to a cause that's important to their community," says AWNA President, Ossie Sheddy.
In its eighth year, the award is sponsored jointly by Direct Energy and AWNA. 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:
* Norma McDonald of Cayley, a great-grandmother with many talents, has spent over sixty years volunteering in her community and is best known for her sewing ability. She makes everything from the beautiful hanging vestments in her church, to a thousand bags for a local woman's shelter and Samaritans Purse Christmas Shoe Boxes. As a member of the Victoria's Quilts Okotoks group, she has helped create and deliver over 1500 quilts to cancer patients in Alberta, since the group's inception in 2003. Her talent to make something beautiful out of fabric scraps, which others would toss in the trash is simply amazing.
* Business owner Laurie Keindel of Devon is known around town for her generosity, her infectious personality and her commitment to several community organizations including the Leduc Food Bank, Devon Christmas Elves, Devon Days Exhibition Association. Although she is not employed by the Town of Devon, she is committed to promoting the small town. She has started a blog on "Our Canada" and has promoted Devon through the "Global your Canada Contest" and is currently working on nominating Devon for other contests.
* Retired teacher Joyce Venables of Barrhead dedicates her time to several volunteer organizations throughout the community of Barrhead. She is on the Barrhead Family Community Support Services Society Board of Directors, is a mentor at Barrhead Elementary School, serves on the United Church Women's executive group, and is the treasurer for the Grizzly Trail Pastoral Charge at the Barrhead United Church and the list continues. Volunteering has been her lifestyle for many years, which she continues to enjoy.
* Breast cancer survivor Melanie O'Reilly of Red Deer has become a strong advocate for breast cancer awareness. Diagnosed in February 2011 at the age of 43, Melanie became determined to help women deal with the effects that breast cancer had on their personal and family lives. She decided to create a Hope Calendar, using a different breast cancer survivor and their story for each month. Within days of completing radiation therapy Melanie began work on the Hope Calendar, working on photo shoots, organizational meetings and meeting with corporate sponsors. The first Hope Calendar went out for sale in December 2011 and the profits have been able to help affected families in need of support during breast cancer treatments.
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 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.
SOURCE Direct Energy
For further information: