OLEAN, NY -- Veterans and active duty soldiers, both local and abroad, have benefitted from the generosity of the Southern Tier Military Support Group through its scholarships and other services.

The Southern Tier Military Support Group provides a $500 scholarship each year from its scholarship fund at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation to area veterans attending Jamestown Community College in Olean. The 2016 scholarship recipient is Michael Lyons. Lyons, who served in the Marine Corps and graduated from Olean High School, is the fifth recipient of the scholarship. The scholarship will help him to pursue his third certification in CAD and CNC.

The Southern Tier Military Support group also provides many other services through another fund at CRCF to veterans and active duty military. About every six weeks the group mails care packages to soldiers serving overseas.

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“We have been doing this since 2003 when a group of men and women got together because their sons and daughters were deployed for the Iraq/Afghanistan wars, not thinking that they would still be doing this still in 2016,” said Pamela Caldwell, a fund adviser for the Southern Tier Military Support Group Fund at CRCF.

When the overseas conflicts began to slow, Caldwell said the group turned their attention to serving the veterans who were returning to the Southern Tier.

“That is when we decided to set up a scholarship fund through the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation for those soldiers who decided to go back to school at JCC in Olean,” she said.

Caldwell’s dedication to the group’s mission is a personal one.

“To help veterans in the many ways that the STMSG has means so much because I have two veterans in my family. My stepson Chad Caldwell was a Marine who served in Iraq in 2005, and my son, Tony Wolf, is presently in the National Guard and served in Afghanistan in 2008,” she said. “This is just my part to help and say thanks to our men and women who serve or have served to help keep us safe.”

Despite all that the group has done since partnering with CRCF in 2013, Caldwell and the group are determined to do more.

“The STMSG's mission and goal is to support our men and women wherever they are in the world, and we will continue to help our soldiers for as long as we have money to provide scholarships, mail out boxes and contribute to benefits and other organizations that help past, present and disabled soldiers,” she said. “So we are not finished with what was started.”

Established in 1994, the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation is growing good by connecting donors to the causes they care about most in the region. Grants from the foundation support many areas, including education, scholarships, health care, the arts, community development, human service, and youth development. To learn more, call (716) 301-CRCF (2723), email foundation@cattfoundation.org, or visit online atwww.cattfoundation.org. CRCF is also on Facebook and Twitter.