Patio is Latest Expression of CV Sheriff Support Group

Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Capt. Bill Song handled the heat like a pro Sunday, grilling for 40 deputies and guests on hand to enjoy the boss’ culinary talents and the station’s brand-new barbecue patio — a structure courtesy of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Support Group.
For the past 25 years, the group has helped maintain a healthy connection between the community and the Sheriff’s Department through membership drives and fundraising events to raise money for specialized equipment and other programs.
The group’s efforts went a long way toward funding the $40,000 covered barbecue area, which replaces a grassy area that formerly was occupied only by makeshift tables.
“It wasn’t a very useful space,” said Len Pieroni, a La Cañada Flintridge city councilman and member of the support group. “They didn’t have a place to meet and to do little celebrations or have internal get-togethers or to gather for all-hands meetings.
“The captain said, ‘Well, if you could get a cover, something to get us out of the sun …’ and then the barbecue kind of morphed out of that.”
Los Angeles County paid for the lights and the cement, and Song chipped in for the barbecue over which he labored Sunday, said Deanna Hammerli, a law enforcement technician who turned the $5 slab of wood she found at a garage sale into a functional tabletop. C.V. Tile and Stone Home Center donated the department logo embedded in the cement.
The support group covered the new picnic benches, the patio roof and the rock countertop. The plan is to top that with the next big project: raising $120,000 to fund a new Mobile Command Post.
The price tag for such a vehicle — a large motor home equipped with all the necessary technology that can be deployed for emergencies — is $240,000, half of which the county will cover, said CV Sheriff’s Support Group member Rich Harris.
He said the unit would be based at the station and be used to serve LCF, La Crescenta and the surrounding area. To get fundraising efforts rolling, Caltech Employees Federal Credit Union donated the first 10%.
“We have donated $12,000 to kick the project off and get this thing going and help it to become a reality,” said Harris, president/CEO of the credit union. “It might take a year, it might take longer, but obviously the more the community can pitch in and support it, the better.
Hammerli said her colleagues have been dreaming of a patio area for close to seven years, and that the project began in earnest three years ago.
“I’ve been at several stations and I’ve never seen a support group that’s so involved or as proactive,” Deputy Alex Covian said as he stood in line for some of his captain’s barbecue. “It’s a great morale-builder.”
Beyond structures and, soon enough, a vehicle, the Sheriff’s Support Group also provides financial support for programs including the STAR (Success Through Awareness & Resistance) program, the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) program, the Montrose Search and Rescue team, Explorer Scouts, civilian volunteers and Neighborhood Watch, among others.
“The support group is just awesome; they never say no, everything is a yes,” Song said. “It’s always, ‘What can we do more? What about next year? What about the following year?’ Sometimes I feel guilty so I try to back off a little bit and try always just to go with the important stuff.
“Thank you again for the tremendous support for the men and women here,” he added, before snipping the red ribbon in half and serving his guests.

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