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Firefighters help raise money for tutoring
TIP MFD1-8-15-13-top-LT
Manteca Fire departments Art Salas takes out a dinner plate during Wednesdays Tip a Fireman at Applebees that served as a benefit for Give Every Child a Chance. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Amy Sullivan had a helper Wednesday night.

It wasn’t the standard busboy who assisted the Applebee’s waitress in what turned out to be a busy night at the local family restaurant.

No, her help came in the form of a reserve firefighter named Matt Canfield that got a crash course in the world of serving and providing customers with what they want when enjoying a night on the town.

During the day Canfield makes sure that he’s in the top physical shape that’s required to run into burning buildings if the time comes. But on Wednesday night he was having a hard time keeping up with the bubbly and outgoing Sullivan as she made her way from table to table at the 13th annual Tip a Firefighter event to benefit Give Every Child a Chance.

“It’s a lot of fun doing this, and I think that it’s cool that so many people are coming out to support this organization, but I’m tired,” Canfield said at the halfway mark of the evening. “There’s a lot that goes in to this and I have a lot of respect for these servers and what it is that they do. It’s hard – you have to make sure you take care of everything that they need and manage your time and multitask – and you have to know how to carry a lot of drinks.

“It’s eye-opening.”

Sullivan said that her helper was doing an “excellent” job given the circumstances. She noted that there was only a single empty booth in the restaurant which made things a lot more stressful for somebody who had never worked in that capacity before.

But it wasn’t just reserves that were there to handle the workload necessary to pull off a busy night at one of Manteca’s busiest restaurants.

Fire Chief Kirk Waters spent his time clearing tables and chatting up customers. Battalion Chiefs Kyle Shipherd and David Marques greeted people as they waited for their tables in the foyer.

Captain Sterrie McLeod had already put in his time serving tables, and in turn had secured the relatively cush gig of serving drinks to the people at the bar – topping margaritas off with lime and sharing a good laugh with the good-natured in attendance.

Seeing so many people who showed up specifically for the Tip a Firefighter event, he said, was impressive and said a lot about the community and where their priorities are.

“It’s a much better turnout than what we had last year,” McLeod said. “It’s good to see the community responding the way that they have. When I came in today there were people who were already at the bar that came in just for this event, and they were ready to make donations.

“We see a lot of people that keep coming out year-after-year, and that’s great.”

All of the money collected on Wednesday will go to benefit GECAC. The firefighters hope to raise $2,000.