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ANIMAL RESCUER WINS FIRST EVER PITTSBURGH VOLUNTEER CITIZEN OF THE YEAR AWARD

January 30, 2012

In its first year, Direct Energy and Trib Total Media's 2011 Pittsburgh Volunteer Citizen Award has been awarded to Stacy Berkoben of Arnold, PA. Stacy has volunteered hundreds of hours and helped to fundraise thousands of dollars for Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley, a nonprofit, no-kill animal shelter in New Kensington, PA. By winning the Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award, Stacy will receive a $1,000 cash prize and $5,000 to donate to Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley.

Described as a true ambassador of animals, Stacy utilizes her warm and friendly personality to educate the public about responsible pet adoption, proper pet care and the importance of spaying and neutering. She has rescued four cats and dog herself, which are now thriving in a safe and permanent home, thanks to Stacy's kind heart.

Stacy also fundraises for Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley by participating in ticket raffles, "Paws for the Cause" and "Meet and Greet" events, bake sales, spaghetti dinners and community dog walks. Additionally, Stacy spends countless hours hand-sewing pet toys, blankets, beds, collars, scarves and mittens to sell at these events. With the $5,000 donation from Direct Energy, Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley will help fund it,s spay and neuter program and provide educational materials to the public.

In her nomination, Pat Presutti, an Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley board member, states that "Stacy always makes the shelter her number one priority and is always there to help. She has been known to even rearrange her personal plans to volunteer whenever needed."

"Stacy's dedication and support for a shelter that does not receive state or federal funding is truly remarkable," said Cory Byzewski, Vice President and General Manager for Direct Energy. "We hope that this wonderful recognition of such an outstanding citizen right in our hometown inspires others to volunteer in their communities."

Lindsay Berdell, Director of Promotions and Marketing for Trib Total Media and judging panelist for the award program said "We received many admirable nominations for this program, and choosing just one winner was an enormous challenge. Stacy's touching story, partnered with her unwavering commitment to helping give animals a chance at life that they might not otherwise have, really makes her valuable asset to our community."

A special event honoring Stacy will be held at the StrongLand Chamber of Commerce HOMEXPO on Friday, February 10th, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. in the Pittsburgh Mills Mall food court. Representatives from Direct Energy and Trib Total Media will be on hand to present Stacy with her award. Pittsburgh Mills Mall is located at 590 Pittsburgh Mills Circle in Tarentum, PA.

Anyone interested in volunteering for Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley to better the lives of homeless animals should email volunteer@animalprotectors.net or call 724-339-7388.