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Honoring Ken Hafer, the man who preserved Manteca’s roots

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POSTED May 19, 2017 1:19 a.m.

Saturday is filled with plenty to do in Manteca.
In the morning there is the Manteca firefighters breakfast for $5 from 7 to 11 a.m. at the Powers Avenue station, the Manteca Mural Society dedication of the Vietnam War mural at 11 a.m. on the side of the Manteca Bedquarters  at Yosemite Avenue and Main Street, Manteca Children’s Foundation Car Show from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Union Park in the front of the golf course, and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the free Manteca Parks & Recreation/Manteca Police Department bicycle safety event at the Charles Giles Memorial Park next to the Boys & Girls Club.
In the evening the 25th annual Manteca Hall of Fame induction ceremonies and dinner takes place at the Manteca Senior Center.
And while Saturday will involve several events designed to honor those who have secured our freedoms as well as those that have woven the fabric that gives Manteca its strength, there is one more event where regrettably the honoree won’t be there to celebrate.
Ken Hafer — who passed away earlier this year — will be honored by the Manteca Historical Society as they name the main museum building at 600 W. Yosemite Ave. in his honor at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Hafer had frustrated his admirers for years who tried to recognize him for his contributions to the community with the founding and fostering the museum being arguably his crowning achievement. He steadfastly refused to be honored at every turn including induction into the Manteca Hall of Fame. That is being rectified Saturday with his special recognition induction as part of the Class of 2017 when the Hall of Fame dinner takes place at the Manteca Senior Center.
Hafer never beat his own drum.
That said, he relished the idea that he could preserve for future generations the deeds and accomplishments of the men and women who over the years helped Manteca grow from a sandy plain to a vibrant community of 77,000.
His love for Manteca and its people was true and deep.
He has helped preserve Manteca’s story from when Joshua Cowell settled here more than  154 years ago at where the Bank of America at Yosemite Avenue and Main Street up until the present.
Hafer was a kindred soul of the late journalist Marcus Garvey whose quote about history’s importance aptly reflects what drove the man who will always be remembered as the ultimate dean of Manteca history with a love for the community that was second to none: “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots.”
Manteca’s roots are at 600 W. Yosemite Avenue for all to see. And largely because of the efforts of people like Hafer those roots may will support a tree that will grow as mighty as a giant sequoia and stand against the winds of time for as long as the soaring redwoods.

City manager
hunt down
to 9 hopefuls
The Manteca City Council could hire a new city a manger within the next two to three months.
Mayor Steve DeBrum said the council is using the same head hunter firm they did when they selected Elena Reyes for the post 10 months ago. The list has been pared down to nine hopefuls.
Reyes and the city parted ways April 14. Reyes was on the city’s payroll for 246 days on which more than half — 136 days — represented the time she was placed on paid leave while an outside counsel investigated formal workplace complaints filed against her by several municipal employees.
Former Public Works Deputy Greg Showerman will continue to serve as city manager as he has since Nov. 28 until the council finds a replacement. Showerman will not be returning to his previous public works position. The council in March appointed him to serve as the Community Development Director.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email

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