Back in December of last year, the Buzz wrote a story about our local Fire Station 29 receiving a new freezer courtesy of a Neighborhood Purpose Grant funded by the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council through the non-profit First in Fire organization, started by former Hancock Park resident Lyn MacEwen Cohen. The story also mentioned several other programs First in Fire supports, including LAFD’s Adopt-a-Fire-Station. That mention caught the eye of one of our young Buzz readers, 17-year-old Ciel Patterson, who decided to adopt our other Larchmont-area station, Fire Station 52 (FS52) on Melrose Ave., for a high school project. And last week, we were thrilled when Patterson’s mother, Giselle Noguera, reached out to tell us how it all worked out.
According to Noguera, Patterson reached out to FS52 Captain David Kohl and learned “the firefighters are responsible for furnishing the needs of their firehouse as well as paying for the stations’ groceries out of pocket, and often even do the grocery shopping on their days off, so they can focus all of their attention on response calls during their shift.”
“When asked if they had anything on their wishlist,” Noguera said, “they humbly replied with an industrial coffee grinder to help meet the needs of their department.”
So Patterson “chose Adopt-a-Fire-Station as her high school Senior Leadership Project and organized a Valentine’s Day See’s Candies Fundraiser that yielded a notable $1,300 in profits in seven days time that she could gift directly to FS52.”
During the fundraising period, though, Noguera said “a coffee company coincidentally decided to donate a coffee grinder to the station,” which meant Patterson could move on to the next item on the firefighter’s wish list – “gym equipment. Specifically a Concept2 Rowing Machine.”
“The continuous demands of the job require First Responders to maintain their physical strength, to prevent injuries with all the repetitive heavy lifting (up to 200 lbs) that is required of them daily,” wrote Noguera. “When we saw the dilapidated equipment they were working with, it was a no brainer, and we were happy to redirect the funds to fulfill their request.”
And on Friday, July 14, Patterson and her family joined the FS22 firefighters for “the big day of the unveiling,” where Noguera said they were “beyond grateful to receive this gift from the heart that was collected in the Valentine spirit, no less.”
“The firefighters graciously opened the doors of the station to Ciel and invited us to join them for a special celebratory cup of coffee,” reported Noguera. “We felt lucky that the rowing machine arrived just in time before Ciel is leaving for college in France to study Business and Marketing.”
“Ciel told the firefighters that she felt a mix of emotions that day about leaving her hometown,” said Noguera, “but that she felt supported by her family and community and said to them as she was exiting the building, “and now I have you, too.””
Noguera added that the experience was moving for her as well as for her daughter. “We feel very lucky to have developed a relationship with all of these kind, hardworking and admirable individuals we’ve encountered,” she said in her note to the Buzz. “We hope that our contribution to their station will remind them of our respect and appreciation for all that they generously provide to our community.”
Noguera also expressed her gratitude to the Buzz for sparking her daughter’s interest. “Thank you so much Larchmont Buzz for that one post that became a source of inspiration to my daughter, that provided a really wonderful bonding experience for my family, and the opportunity to get to know our valued neighbors at FS52 and give back to the community.”
Naturally, we shared this story with First-In Fire Foundation founder Lyn MacEwen Cohen who told us she was delighted to hear their actions had inspired Patterson.
“This is exactly what we love to see happen,” Cohen told the Buzz. “Doing something that helps out someone else -like our beloved firefights who never ask for help but their door is always open – that good deed inspires other that they can do something too.”
Cohen was particularly delighted that Patterson focused her high school community service requirement on something local that really helps our neighborhood firefighters, who Cohen noted are weary from fighting more intense fires driven by climate change.
“They need all the help they can get at the grassroots level,” said Cohen. “It’s an exciting time for developing creative ways to support our firefighters and the need is great. We are always working on disaster preparedness for the next fire season.
If anyone else is interested in supporting Fire Station 52, Noguera sent along this QR code that can be used to to make a one-time or recurring financial donation.