OLEAN - Eric Peters, a 2008 Cattaraugus-Little Valley High School graduate with a passion for reading, sports and service, had just finished his sophomore year at SUNY Fredonia when he unexpectedly passed away in June 2010.
On July 26 he would have turned 24.
To honor his memory, his parents, Randy and Laurie Peters of Little Valley, have established the Eric Peters Memorial Scholarship at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation.
"Eric was a good listener and was creative, caring, smart and good at fixing things," Mrs. Peters said, noting he was also an active member of the Little Valley United Methodist Church where he participated in numerous activities including Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, youth group and serving on a mission trip.
"We would like this scholarship to encourage and enable other students to go on to college," she said.
The scholarship will be available beginning in 2015 to graduating seniors from Cattaraugus-Little Valley High School, with a preference for students who are also members of the Little Valley United Methodist Church where Eric was active, noted Karen Buchheit, CRCF executive director.
"The foundation is pleased to manage this perpetual scholarship in Eric's name as a way of helping to remember the impact he made on the lives of his family and friends," Buchheit said. "This scholarship will carry on Eric's legacy of caring and being a loyal friend to young people from his alma mater and church as they begin their college journey".
At Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School, Eric was a member of the Honor Society and participated in soccer, golf and band. He was described as an avid reader who was well-liked by his teachers and fellow students.
He attended SUNY Fredonia with an interest in computers.
In addition to his parents, Eric also has two older brothers, Scott and Justin, and a younger sister, Carissa.
Eric enjoyed spending time with his friends - his last Facebook post was, "I thank God for my friends," his mother said.
Eric had been participating in a "Wet Wednesday" event he and his friends held on a regular basis to play various sports and enjoy time together when he collapsed. Ultimately efforts to revive him were unsuccessful, and he passed away on June 4, 2010.
His friends established a memorial garden at that same Little Valley town park in his memory.
Donations to the Eric Peters Memorial Scholarship may be made care of the Community Foundation at 120 N. Union St., Olean, or online at www.cattfoundation.org.
The Community Foundation provides to its fund donors administrative services such as gift processing and acknowledgments, investment management through a professional investment manager, and tax filing. Any nonprofit organization or any organization seeking nonprofit status interested in starting a fund at the Community Foundation can benefit from the these services.
Established in 1994, The Community Foundation is growing good by connecting donors to the causes they care about most in our 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, email or visit us online at www.cattfoundation.org.