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Duke Energy's third annual Victories For Veterans program to recognize 13 nonprofits with $85,000

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-- For the third consecutive season, the Duke Energy Foundation committed $1,000 for every Rays win this season to charities that support veterans in the community through the Victories for Veterans program, a unique partnership with the Tampa Bay Rays.

A total of $85,000 will be invested in 13 organizations to provide services to more than 2,500 veterans in Florida.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-- For the third consecutive season, the Duke Energy Foundation committed $1,000 for every Rays win this season to charities that support veterans in the community through the Victories for Veterans program, a unique partnership with the Tampa Bay Rays.

A total of $85,000 will be invested in 13 organizations to provide services to more than 2,500 veterans in Florida.

"The Tampa Bay Rays successful season has translated into phenomenal wins for our veterans organizations," said Duke Energy Florida president Catherine Stempien. "Our partnership with the Rays has provided invaluable services to nearly 3,700 local veterans and we are proud to continue this investment and assist other worthwhile organizations. It is one of the many ways Duke Energy supports the men and women who have served our country."

The 13 recipient organizations will be recognized on Sunday, September 16 with an on-field check presentation by Duke Energy and Tampa Bay Rays representatives.

"The military community is a significant and vital piece of the Tampa Bay region," said Rays President Brian Auld. "We are grateful that this unique partnership with Duke Energy allows us to award grants to so many worthy organizations supporting veterans. It is with great pride that we recognize the Victories for Veterans recipients at Tropicana Field."

Recipient organizations and their veteran-focused programs include:

Tampa Bay area:
• Homeless Emergency Project, Inc. (Pinellas County): to provide affordable housing that was designed specifically for the brave men and women returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, enabling them the opportunity to heal in a safe and secure setting while allowing access to on-site services designed to help guide the way to self-sufficiency.

• Imagine Museum (Pinellas County): to support the Veterans Reality pilot program that shares Florida veterans' inspiring stories and art through short films, which are exhibited for community enrichment.

• K9 Partners for Patriots (Hernando County): to certify 100 veterans along with their fully-trained service dogs through its program that supports canine experiences for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries.

• Operation Healing Forces (Pinellas County): to conduct retreats that assist more than 200 special operators and their spouses with reintegration, rehabilitation and resiliency.

• SPCA Tampa Bay (Pinellas County): to subsidize veterinary care for approximately 60 veterans through the Caldwell Keeping Families Together Fund.

• Wheels of Success, Inc. (Pinellas County): to repair and restore vehicles donated through the Vehicles for Veterans program, which provides veterans with safe, reliable transportation to transition into the civilian workforce.

Greater Orlando area:
• Central Florida Commission on Homelessness (Orange County): to promote the importance of permanent housing for chronically homeless veterans through its Welcome Home Veterans Program that collaborates with four regional organizations.

• Matthew's Hope Ministries, Inc. (Orange County): to assist with job opportunities and transitional housing for homeless veterans in west Orange County who are aiming to become self-sufficient. • The Travis Hunt, Inc. (Volusia County): to help sponsor and provide a service animal for a veteran who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; these animals provide therapeutic benefits and contribute to quality of life.

• United Way of Lake County (Lake County): to connect veterans and their families with the needed services, such as rental, utility and workforce development assistance through the Mission United program.

• Wekiva Wilderness Trust (Orange County): to construct the Serenity Garden at Wekiwa State Park, including specially-designed wheelchair accessible boardwalks, which will enable access and therapeutic opportunities for people with disabilities and special needs who would not be able to enjoy the park experience otherwise.

North Central Florida area:
• Rebuilding Together North Central Florida, Inc. (Alachua County): to conduct critical home repairs for veterans that will eliminate health and safety hazards at no cost to the owner.

• Veterans Helping Veterans (Alachua, Marion and Levy counties): to assist with veterans' unmet household needs, such as utility payments, food, clothing and vehicle expenses, in addition to counseling services.

About Duke Energy Foundation
The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to address the needs of communities where its customers live and work. The Foundation contributes more than $5 million annually in charitable gifts throughout its Florida service territory.

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