Cleveland Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award Returns for Third Year

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 third annual Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award. Nominations are now being accepted and will close Thursday, September 6th, 2012.

The Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award is 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

“Volunteers are the backbone of our communities. They give their time, energy and skills to help their neighbors, friends and often strangers,” 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 would like to encourage everyone to take some time and nominate their outstanding volunteer to help us in search of the third Cleveland Volunteer Citizen of the Year.”

Last years’ winners, Bill and Karen Ruffing of Olmstead Falls, chose a local food pantry, Christians-In-Action, as the beneficiary of their $5,000. The money was used to provide all Christians-In-Action families with a turkey at Thanksgiving and a ham at Easter.

“Last year, we were so impressed with our winners and the devotion they show our communities without ever asking for anything in return,” 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 and we look forward to honoring yet another winner.”

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 Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. A selection committee from Direct Energy will review the submissions, and the winner will be announced in September in all 11 Sun News weekly newspapers.

Complete rules and other information is available online at

For more information about past Volunteer Citizen of the Year Awards, check out these other posts: