Columbus, OH (November 13, 2014) – In its third year, Direct Energy and ThisWeek Community News have named its 2014 Columbus Volunteer Citizen of the Year winner, Pete Cline. Cline is the founder of VETMotorsports, a Columbus-based nonprofit that uses motorsports as an inspiration to propel military veterans forward and to encourage veterans to find their strengths and motivations. The VETMotorsports program provides its participants with actual hands-on experience and immersion in a unique format, engaging wounded combat veterans over a sustained period of time and providing access to real-time activities and leadership roles in a high-stress motorsports environment. These events help empower veteran warriors, providing the same adrenalin rush and sense of vitality and teamwork felt in active duty.
Sadly, after heroic duty to our nation, many veterans find that combat injuries, post-traumatic stress and transition to mainstream life prove far more challenging than ever imagined. That’s where Pete Cline stepped in. In 2012, Pete saw an opportunity to help this population by combining it with one of his greatest passions in life: professional motorcycle racing. As a former professional racer, Cline knows that the flat-track is an exciting, high energy environment where racers, team mangers and pit crew all pull together under pressure to work toward winning results. His idea to seek out post-9/11 wounded combat veterans and invite them to work as part of a race team turned into the VETMotorspots nonprofit organization Since its inception, VETMotorsports has transformed lives all across the country and now has a wait-list for future participants. Just last year, the organization engaged over 42 wounded combat veterans in 11 motorcycle and auto racing events and launched national fundraising initiatives that raised over $13,000 in 11 days.
Pete’s ongoing efforts to develop VETMotorsports’ programs and outreach to veterans are what makes VETMotorsports the success story it is today. He spends the race season attending and facilitating race experiences all across the United States and in the off-season, he focuses on fundraising, outreach to strategic partners and planning for the upcoming season. His passion and energy are infectious and he’s built enormous awareness and goodwill for the organization. He has been directly responsible for American combat veterans’ emergence from silent suffering that impacts both them and their loved ones into a fresh chapter where they’re able to move forward with a better understanding that they are valued and appreciated for exactly who they are.
By winning the Columbus Volunteer Citizen of the Year award, Cline will receive a $5,000 donation for VETMotorsports from Direct Energy. The donation will be used to continue VETMotorsports’ programs in the 2015 season to expand relationships and collaborations in the racing and veteran communities, as well as to develop and encourage continued improvement for veteran mental and physical health.
A special event honoring Pete Cline will be held at the Upper Arlington Municipal Building on Wednesday, November 19, 2014. Representatives from Direct Energy and ThisWeek Community News will be on hand to present Cline with his award and donation. The Upper Arlington Municipal Building is located at 3600 Tremont Road, Upper Arlington, OH 43221.
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About Direct Energy
Direct Energy is North America’s largest provider of heating & cooling, plumbing and electrical services and a leading energy and energy-related services provider with over six 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. To learn more about Direct Energy, please visit www.directenergy.com
About ThisWeek Community News
ThisWeek Community News is comprised of 25 weekly editions spanning Columbus and the surrounding areas of Delaware, Union and Licking Counties. Award-winning journalists report in-depth news on the hyper-local level: government and civic organizations, education and high school sports, business and lifestyle features. www.thisweeknews.com