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SMAC gets a boost from GE

Company donates $10K to help military families, Chamber to match funds

General Electric's $10,000 donation will help make the lives of some Schenectady County military families a little easier when a spouse is deployed.

The Chamber of Schenectady County was formally presented with the funding on Tuesday, June 7. It will be administered by the chamber's Schenectady Military Affairs Council. John Lavelle, vice president of global projects operation for GE Energy, presented the check, which will be used to support families of deployed military personnel.

GE Energy presented its Operational Excellence Award to Lavelle, which allowed him to provide the donation.

As someone who travels very frequently [for work], I know the stress that can put on families when someone is away, said Lavelle. "I know what it is like when I am only gone away for a week or two at a time, but for somebody who is gone for months or years, I can only imagine the stress that can put on a family."

Lavelle said he became familiar with SMAC, and it was an easy choice to decide to fund its efforts.

"Anything we can do to support them is very needed," he said.

The volunteers at SMAC work with all of the military units in the county, said Chamber President Chuck Steiner, so the funds can be used for programs such as the family readiness program. Funds could also be given if a family faces hardships such as needing assistance paying bills, emergency repairs, or even help sending a child to summer camp.

"Very easily we could take it and probably spend it, but it is more important to recognize deployment is going to happen time and time again," said Steiner.

The donation spurred the Chamber to start a new funding program for the efforts, so funding can continue to be raised.

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