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Direct Energy honours Granny as top volunteer

Gary Newcombe. fice-president of Direct Energy for Canada, Irma Gray and Direct Energy for Canada public relations manager Lynzey McRae.

A dedicated soup kitchen chef from Whitecourt was honoured as the top volunteer citizen in Alberta.
Irma (Granny) Gray received the 2011 Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award. Her dedication to a long list of community organizations includes founding a local soup kitchen and operating as its head chef for more than four years.
Now in its seventh year, the award is sponsored jointly by Direct Energy and the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association (AWNA). Nominations for the award were solicited from more than 100 Alberta communities.
“Ms. Gray’s numerous accolades and letters of support from members of the Whitecourt community made her a clear front-runner for the award,” Direct Energy’s vice-president and general manager Tanis Kozak said. “Her many years of unwavering dedication to her community are a true inspiration.”
Granny Gray dedicates her time to a long list of community organizations in Whitecourt including the Youth Justice Committee, Lorne’s Blanket, Girl Guides of Canada, her local church, the Whitecourt Legion, various seniors groups, the Boys and Girls Club, the local homeless shelter, the Lac St. Anne or affordable housing foundation, and as one of the founding members and head cook of Tennille’s Hope Kommunity Kitchen.
When Granny Gray heard the news that the possibility of a soup kitchen was opening, she said, “If a soup kitchen opens, as long as I’m alive, you will never have to worry about cooking the soup.”
More than four years later, Granny still plans the meals, does the shopping, fund-raises to purchase supplies and equipment and personally cooks and serves the food to the many people who count on the meals each week.
“I feel like an old car battery,” Granny Gray, the mother of seven children, 18 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren said when she was selected as the 2011 winner. “When I volunteer, I am charged. It keeps me young and I look forward to it. It’s my whole life.”
Granny Gray received a $1,000 cash award from Direct Energy as well as a plaque signifying her achievement.
In addition, Direct Energy made a donation of $5,000 to Tennille’s Hope Kommunity Kitchen, a charity chosen by Granny Gray, in her name.
Four finalists were also selected for outstanding volunteer efforts in their communities and will each receive $1,000 toward their charitable organization of choice: Sherrie Mitchell of Ponoka; Jessica Price of Banff; Yvonne Doroshenko of Athabasca; and Jennifer Peddlesden of Chestermere.

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