By Mary O’KEEFE
You may not know his name, but it is a certain bet if you see him you will recognize him. Steven Cronkhite has been a dedicated member of the La Cañada Flintridge and Crescenta Valley communities for several years. He has been there, supporting the community through fires, floods and tragedy – and he is just 22 years old.
For six years, Cronkhite has been a member of Crescenta Valley Explorer Post 514, a program of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Dept. Last month he was awarded the Explorer Leadership Award from the Boy Scouts of America Learning for Life. The award received nominations from throughout Los Angeles County.
“I had no idea the [Boy Scouts] gave those kinds of awards out,” Cronkhite said. “This was the first time I had heard about it.”
The leaders of the CV Explorers program nominated Cronkhite without mentioning it to him first.
“[Deputy Jeff] Martin just asked the number of hours I [volunteered],” Cronkhite said.
This was not unusual, he added; when his Explorer advisors ask him for information, he simply follows orders and gives it.
He said his advisors have been great leaders and mentors in and out of the program. Martin has been his advisor all six years.
“He has taught me a lot in the department and [in] life in general,” Cronkhite said.
“He has probably been the most dedicated Explorer I have ever had,” Martin said of Cronkhite. “He goes above and beyond.”
The Explorers is not an easy program to be involved in. It requires dedication and discipline. Each Explorer is required to attend the Sheriff’s Academy.
“During the Academy, I wanted to drop out a few times. It is physically and mentally draining,” Cronkhite said. “Once you get past it though, you can do anything. If you can get past the Academy, you are a valuable asset to any workplace.”
As Explorers, they go on ride-alongs with deputies, learn how the Sheriff’s Dept. works internally, help with traffic control and participate in several competitions.
He is now aged out of the program and is working as an advisor while he awaits a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. background check. He is hoping to join LASD in a few months.
Cronkhite said he has always wanted a public safety career.
“I wanted to be in emergency response,” Cronkhite said. “The Sheriff’s Department has a lot more to offer.”
His career in the Explorers and the impression he has left with community members and other law enforcement will help him as he continues in his career.
“Steven has been an asset not only to the Crescenta Valley Station’s Explorer program, but to the station was a whole. He has always volunteered to help anywhere the station needed help and with our Volunteers on Patrol. Steven wants to make a difference in the community and I’m glad he is part of our station personnel,” said Sgt. Burton Brink, Community Relations coordinator, Montrose Search and Rescue Team and Uniformed Reserves/Explorers/Volunteers.
Just for the record, Cronkhite has completed 150 ride-alongs and has logged in over 4,000 volunteer hours.