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Friday, May 25, 2018

Two Joes Scholarship Fund to preserve legacy of community businessmen

For many, a memorial scholarship is a living way to continue the memory of a loved one.

For Hank Certo and Louis “Ledgie” DeRose, the Two Joes Scholarship Fund is a way to remember two people who left a huge impact not only on both them, but also the entire community.

Certo and DeRose recently established the Two Joes Scholarship Fund in the name of community-minded businessmen Joe Sgro and Joe DeRose, Ledgie’s father, to support a scholarship award for a Cattaraugus County student interested in pursuing a degree in technology, marketing, communications, business or a related field.

Beginning at the 2018 Bartlett Pro-Am golf tournament, donations will be accepted to help build the fund into an endowment, with the fist scholarship award to be made in four to five years, Certo said.

Joseph Sgro was the vice president of Certo Bros. Distributing for 67 years.

Joe DeRose served as president and chief executive officer of Mazza Sheet Metal Inc., Pierce Steel Fabricators Inc. and MKD Realty Co.

Both men helped guide businesses that have very much been cornerstone’s in the Cattaraugus region community, but also were tireless community volunteers and supporters of charitable causes.

Sgro served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War before moving to Olean. He was a life member of the Elks and served for 30 years on the board of the New York State Beer Association.

Sgro actively supported St. Bonaventure University as a volunteer and supporter willing to fit just about any role to aid the university’s mission.

An avid golfer, Sgro was an involved member of Bartlett Country Club, Moon Brook Country Club and Pine Island Ridge Country Club.

DeRose served as a trustee for St. John’s Church and chaired the Festa Italiana for 10 years. For his service to the church, he received the Lay Award of St. Joseph from Bishop Edward D. Head of the Buffalo Catholic Diocese.

DeRose also dedicated himself at Archbishop Walsh Academy as a life member and former director of the Walsh Foundation where he was named Walsh Foundation Person of the year in 1993. He served on the Archbishop Walsh High School board of trustees, building committee and boosters club.

The Walsh Parents Club named him Volunteer of the year in 2013 as well.

He was also a member of the Deveraux Association of St. Bonaventure University, Allegany Council and Knights of Columbus.

“Our community would not be the same without the work and involvement of the ‘Two Joes,’” said CRCF Executive Director Karen Niemic Buchheit. “Their dedication to business, economic development and community service is an essential part of what made the Olean community what it is today.”

Donations can be made to the Two Joes Scholarship Fund at CRCF, 301 North Union St., Suite 203, or online at

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, or visit online at CRCF is also on Facebook ( and Twitter (@CattFoundation).

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