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Pat Shinners Scholarship to support high school football players pursue education, career, military

Thu, Feb 21st 2019 12:00 pm

For all his love of football, Patrick Shinners, a skilled high school player and later a dedicated high school official, was about more than the Friday night lights. A scholarship in his memory pays tribute to that.

The Patrick Shinners Memorial Team Player Scholarship, now being managed at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation, will be awarded each year to a graduating senior who played football at a Cattaraugus or Chautauqua County School and who demonstrates a work ethic and commitment to the team, similar to qualities Pat Shinners exhibited throughout his life.

The Southwestern Chapter of NYS Association of Certified Football Officials (SWNYSACFO) established the fund at CRCF, after managing the scholarship in memory of Shinners, for a number of years after Shinners passed away in a tragic car accident in 2004.

Following the accident, Shinners’ family approached the SWNYSACFO about holding a golf outing to remember Pat and raise money for the scholarship. Since 2008 the scholarship has awarded thousands of dollars in scholarships to local students.

In 2019 the SWNYSACFO decided to move the scholarship under CRCF management to take advantage of CRCF’s trusted scholarship administrative capabilities.

"To honor Pat's memory, we are not looking for the all-star. It isn't about the superstar on the field," said Barney Lee, president of the Southwestern Chapter of New York State Certified Football Officials. "We honor Pat by honoring those kids that give 100-percent each and every practice. We want to honor those kids that give it all for the team.

“These unsung heroes are often the players that see only a handful of game-time plays but still have the dedication to make themselves and their team as good as it can be," added Lee.

The scholarship is not so much about football, but about the important character traits learned on the field that make a difference in life.

Shinners learned those qualities on the field, and those qualities made him a leader and community servant.

Pat was a veteran who served in the army following high school. He also worked as a corrections officer in the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Department for a number of years.

He also served as a volunteer firefighter and a member of the Sons of the American Legion.

Eligible recipients ae graduating seniors who played football for a high school in Cattaraugus or Chautauqua counties for at least one school year. The athlete will have demonstrated proficiency/competency in: extracurricular activities, community involvement, citizenship and team participation.

The ideal candidate will be a player who was there for the team; a player who was not the team hero, but who came to practice knowing that he may not be in the game on Friday night. The scholarship is not restricted to those planning to attend an institution of higher education after graduation; nominations of those entering the Armed Forces or pursuing technical trades are also encouraged.

The award will be given as a scholarship or educational stipend that can be used toward college, trade or technical school or job-related expenses such as uniforms or equipment or travel costs if entering the military. A committee of the SWNYSACFO will select the recipient(s) from the applications from coaches.

 “We are honored to be trusted with the management of this scholarship at CRCF,” said Foundation Executive Director Karen Niemic Buchheit. “It is heartwarming to aid a scholarship like this that supports those students and athletes that are sometimes skipped over but have given their all and are more than deserving of recognition.”

Scholarship applications are available through SWNYSACFO and at cattfoundation.org/apply-for-scholarships. Or CLICK HERE for the application.

Donations can be made to the Patrick Shinners Memorial Team Player Scholarship Fund at 301 North Union St., Suite 203, or online at cattfoundation.org.

For 25 years, the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation has been the area’s supportive, responsive and trusted community foundation. Established in 1994, CRCF 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 [email protected], or visit online at www.cattfoundation.org. CRCF is also on Facebook (facebook.com/cattfoundation) and Twitter (@CattFoundation).