La Crescenta's Firehouse held a ceremony Monday for the dedication of one of its rooms, “Christopher’s Room,” to the memory and family of Christopher McCulloch, a La Canada Flintridge teen who was murdered during a drug deal gone bad.
Christopher, 13, and Blaine Talmo, Jr., 14, were found dead at 's playground in 2000.
Since his death, Christopher's mother Aileen Bristow has become an active member of the Crescenta Valley Drug & Alcohol Prevention Coalition.
She offered these powerful words:
"Twelve years ago, today, I was wondering how on earth can you make something good come out of this. My son and his friend had just been murdered. Well, here we are, after all these years, and I know that my son Christopher is looking down with a great big beam on his face. I can’t thank you all enough."
The Firehouse is a youth center for any teenager created by parents and students in La Crescenta.
Three years ago, Molly Shelton, former president of the Firehouse Focus Group and co-founder of the Prom Plus Club, met to talk about dangers confronting young people in the area, and what might be done to make La Crescenta a safer place.
“The biggest reason we found.. for the drug and alcohol abuse, was that there was nothing to do in this town... at all. As a group, we decided that all we needed was a place to hang out, a safe place to go.”
The culmination of these talks came in the form of the drop-in youth center now known as the The Firehouse. It's adjacent to , however it is non-denominational, and free to local kids.
The safe haven, aptly named for inhabiting the old Station 19, has been open by volunteers since the fall 2010.
Shelton welcomed everyone and gave special thanks for the outpouring of support the community and sponsors have given the Fire House since the outset.
Following Bristow’s moving address, Reverend Bryan led those gathered in prayer for Christopher and the community, afterward turning the floor back to Shelton and current Fire House Focus Group President Cooper Iven, who performed the official unveiling of the “Christopher’s Room” plaque which now hangs in perpetual honor over the inner doorway.
He gave thanks and noted Volunteer and CV Weekly reporter Mary O’Keefe’s effort on behalf of the Fire House and more in the community.
“Like with all things. Mary saw a problem...and found a solution. The Fire House. This space has led to a multitude of projects spearheaded by Fire House kids...
Iven opened his speech with an admission of wide-eyed wonderment, and a tone of earnest desire for continued, positive change in the community.
“Its been amazing to watch all of our dreams actualize over the past 9 months...and the impact that it’s really had on the kids in our area.”
For more information on drug and alcohol related prevention and support in the community visit http://www.cvdapc.org/.