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Inductees laud those who make community work

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Manteca Hall of Fame inductee Lucille Harris returns to her seat after receiving an award for bother herself and her late husband Bill on Saturday during ceremonies at the Manteca Senior Center.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED May 13, 2013 12:25 a.m.


The Bulletin

Nine men and women were inducted into the Manteca Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2013.

They all made one thing clear: It wasn’t about them. It was about others.

“They make the community work,” healthcare inductee Dr. Karl Wolf said of countless people who do their jobs both paid and on a volunteer basis in Manteca.

Wolf has a 40-year track record of not just diligently caring for patients in his large Manteca geriatric practice, but stepping up to drive the development of the emergency room at Doctors Hospital of Manteca. The University of Missouri School of Medicine graduate founded his Manteca practice in September of 1973. He has served as chief of staff at Doctors Hospital, director of the emergency room, and has been chairman of the governing board.

“It’s a privilege to practice medicine,” Wolf told the nearly 250 people gathered Saturday at the Manteca Senior Center for the induction ceremonies.

Judge George Abdallah Jr. - inducted for government - that the Manteca community reflected “the hard work and faith” that typifies the Central Valley.

Abdallah served as the Municipal Court Commissioner/Judge Pro Temp from 1987 to 1995 and then as the municipal judge from 1995 to 1998. He was the last judge to travel the Manteca, Ripon, Escalon court circuit. He’s served as a Superior Court judge since 1998 including a presiding judge from 2002 to 2003.

Abdallah has also served as a law professor and lecture as well as served on the state level on various judicial commissions.

He has served on boards for two hospitals, the Manteca District Ambulance and Manteca CAPS. He was in private practice before becoming a judge.

“It’s an honor to be entrusted with legal aspects” of citizens’ “family, fortune and freedom,” Abdallah said.

Dave Bricker - who was also inducted for government - served on the Manteca Police force for 28 years including from 2008 to 2011 as police chief.

As a newbie police cadet while still in high school, his first ride along as with a new officer by the name of Willie Weatherford who eventually became police chief before retiring and being elected to three terms as mayor.

Bricker said Weatherford showed him that “to be a good cop it took more than just putting bad guys in jail” as you had to help make a community stronger.

Bricker has strived to live up to that advice. He has served as president of the Sunrise Kiwanis, Manteca Kiwanis, Give Every Child a Chance, and the Manteca-Lathrop Boys & Girls Club. He also served on other boards including the South County Crisis Center, Second Harvest Food Bank, and South County Crime Stoppers. Bricker was the founder of the Manteca Police Chief’s Foundation.

Michael Henry, who taught and coached at Manteca High for 27 years, was inducted for education.

Henry stressed how the work of others - teachers and coaches - have contributed to the success of Manteca High and its students over the years.

Henry’s students always performed beyond expectations for standardized tests. Fellow teachers constantly noted how well-prepared and motivated his students were when taking next-level classes.

Henry told the gathering he was able to have his “dream job” of serving as a head basketball coach. He was the Buffs boys’ varsity coach for 11 years including 1987 when the team won both the Valley Oak League and Sac-Joaquin Section titles. The 1987 Buffalo team is still the only basketball team in Manteca to have won both titles.

Henry also coached golf and was instrumental in starting the girls’ golf team at Manteca High.

Lucille Harris - who along with her late husband Bill - was inducted for community service made it clear that the award wasn’t above her or Bill.

“(Supporting the community) is the cost and duty of business,” said Harris who along with her husband founded Tuff Boy Trailers. “It is easy and it’s an obligation for business to write a check. What is so difficult (is volunteering and doing the work).”

She lauded the people who make programs such as the Great Valley Writing Project, FFA, 4H, and other programs work.

The couple also has left their mark on tort reform statewide.

Greg Leland, whose dedication to young people has spanned 27 years, was inducted for education.

The Sierra High vice principal’s Manteca Unified career started in 1984. From 2000 to 2011 he split his duties between being dean of activities, administrator and teaching. In 2011, he became a fulltime vice principal.

His long coaching career included serving as head track and field coach at Sierra High from 1994 to 1999 where his teams enjoyed three Valley Oak League championships and the San Joaquin Section Division III title in 1999. Leland was the head Sierra High football coach from 1994 to 2004.

Community endeavors include Manteca Partners in Prevention 1985 to 1996, director of Manteca’s 24-Hour Relay 1993 to 1995, Give Every Child a Chance 1998 to 2004, Spreckels Park Little League board member and coach 1998 to 2008, Manteca Unified Student Trust (MUST) founding board member 2005 to 2012, and American Cancer Society Relay for Life site logistics committee chain 2006 to 2011.

“No way will I ever be able to repay all of people who have made a positive impact in my life,” Leland said.

Jack Miller - a coach and teacher lauded for his “pay-it-forward attitude” - was inducted for athletics.

Miller has taught 34 years in the Manteca Unified School District with the last 32 years at Manteca High.

He has been a varsity football coach at Manteca High for 32 consecutive years. He is currently the assistant head varsity football coach. He contributed to more than 200 varsity football wins and had a role in helping Buffalo teams qualify 14 times for football playoffs including five appearances in the section championship game including titles in 2001, 2005, and 2006. He has coached more than 350 varsity football games.

“I’ve always considered myself a very lucky man,” Miller said of being able to coach sports and teach history.

Randy Ernest Albertsen who is part of a five-man team holding a World Trapshooting Record was inducted at large.

Albertsen won 14 Grand American trophies from 1994 to 1997. He also captured the veteran titles in the High-Over All and the Zone Champion of Champions competition in the clay target event. He also won the top senior honors in the Dayton Homecoming, Double Championship, and All-Around. He earned four additional 70 and over crowns in 1996 and 1997.

His first major California State title was in 1991 with the veterans’ singles championship. Between 1993 and 1998 he earned four more age-group 16 yard titles and was event champion in the 1997 singles with 200 plus 75 extras.

Starting in 1992, Albertsen was named to seven consecutive All-American teams, four veteran and three senior veteran teams, and was the captain of the 1995 veteran squad.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail

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