Chesterland Woman Named Cleveland Volunteer Citizen of the Year Donna Herbst wins 3rd annual award for her dedication to providing for the less fortunate

Cleveland, OH  (10/8/2012) - In its third year, Direct Energy and the Sun News have chosen Donna Herbst of Chesterland, Ohio as the Cleveland Volunteer Citizen of the Year. Donna has been volunteering for the Clowns and Helping Hands Ministry at St. Paschal Baylon in Highland Heights, Ohio for the past eight years, helping to provide food, clothing and most importantly, smiles, to the less fortunate in Cleveland.

In 1999, the Clowns and Helping Hands Ministry at St. Paschal Baylon began with just two members and has since expanded to over 100 volunteers. The organization provides hot meals, clothing and toiletries to more than 200 struggling residents in various locations across Cleveland. Additionally, Donna and the rest of the volunteers for Clowns and Helping Hands Ministry at St. Paschal Baylon take the time to listen to the stories, concerns and hardships people face so that they know that someone cares for them. By driving a van filled with food and clothing, collecting donations from the community and ensuring that there is enough volunteers to accomplish every task, Donna's selflessness helps provide for those in need and truly makes a difference in people's lives.

In her nomination, Donna's husband, Roger Herbst, describes her as a true hero. "Donna constantly works to make the Clowns and Helping Hands Ministry at St. Paschal Baylon a thriving organization by giving to others in any way that she can. The people she serves feel that they are blessed, but Donna considers herself the fortunate one to be given the opportunity to lend a hand."

By winning the Cleveland Volunteer Citizen of the Year, Donna will receive a $1,000 cash prize and a $5,000 donation to the Clowns and Helping Hands Ministry at St. Paschal Baylon. The donation will be used to help fund a new van to transport volunteers, food, clothes and other much needed goods to residents in Cleveland communities that may not be able to travel to receive the supplies they need to make it from week to week. The truck currently being used is in desperate need of repair and recently broke down. Without the van, many people go without food and struggle to make ends meet.

"From every aspect, Donna truly exemplifies exactly what we look for when we chose the winners of our Volunteer Citizen of the Year award programs. She brings both goodwill and moral support to those members of her community that need it the most and by doing so, she is able to make her community a better place to live for everyone," said Cory Byzewski, Vice President and General Manager for Direct Energy US North Residential.

Linda Kinsey, Executive Editor for the Sun News said, "This year, we received a record number of 33 nominations. Every year that we launch this program, it never ceases to amaze us the amount of unwavering dedication and support that the residents of Cleveland have for their communities. Donna is without a doubt one of those people and we are very excited to honor her as our third winner." A special event honoring Donna Herbst will be held on Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 at 6:00 pm. Representatives from Direct Energy and the Sun News will be on hand to present Donna with her award. The event will be held at the St. Paschal Baylon Parish Family Life Center at 5384 Wilson Mills Road in Highland Heights, Ohio 44143.

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.

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 250,000 weekly readers.


For further information, please contact:
Julie Hendry
Direct Energy
412.925.6773
Julie.Hendry@directenergy.com

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