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Soroptimist event is 37-year Manteca tradition
Connie Jorgenson, left, of Ripon, and Carol Nunes, right, of Manteca share some laughs during Wednesdays Manteca Soroptimist Holiday Affair at the Bank of Stockton. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

It was a true Family City event Wednesday evening as more than 250 people — many with deep roots in the community and newcomers alike — shared the season spirit while helping fund endeavors such as teen crisis counseling during the 37th Annual Manteca Soroptimist Club’s Holiday Affair at the Bank of Stockton on North Main Street.
Entering the door people were greeted by three club members who have been with the service organization since the 1980s. They are Betty Ingel, brought into Soroptimists by MarionThibodeau; Arlene Sevor, introduced to the club by Delores Cardoza; and Judy Vasquez who had been sponsored by Kathryn Lauritson.  All sweet women, who were respectively in the vocations of medicine, banking and nursing administration at Doctors Hospital.
These old timers – if you will – have not lost their friendly glow knowing how to make someone feel special by their demeanor and teasing.  The same was true for Dorothy Indelicato and Carol Nunes who went out of their way to say hello along with Barbara Brocchini and Caroline Thibbodeau.  They all make quite a team to add to Manteca’s positive profile through Soroptimists.
Ingel had followed in the footsteps of her Dad, Dr. Glenn Brown. Vasquez was a longtime nurse at Manteca Hospital and later at Doctors where she served as a nursing administrator – having given our second oldest son Scott a gentle nudge years ago that brought him into the world in 1965.  Arlene Sevor was the resourceful face of Bank of Stockton for many years who knew all of the names of her customers by heart.
The late Dr. Brown was a special physician of the old school who had said he didn’t need a lot of money to go to medical school and at one time tried to coax me to do the same.  He said that he and his wife had little money at the time and had children at home to boot given she was a stay at home mom.   Brown knew how to fly and in the summers between semesters, he would contact an agricultural flight service and fly a crop dusters low over farms delivering pesticides and fertilizers over the valley fields.  The money he earned would be enough to support his family for the coming year and pay for his medical school and internship years.
Always giving back to the community were Jeff Liotard and his wife Tevani along with daughter Jaslynn working the three drink stations out of tellers’ windows with a long line most of the evening that started at 5:30 p.m.
Realtor Wendy Benevidas and Manteca Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Joann Beattie were sharing a food tray when the focus was on the grapes – red grapes – to start off their evening along with a glass of wine.  Good friends, good stories enjoying everyone’s favorite memories of Christmases past.
Bank of Stockton manager Amy Kiefer who has lived in Manteca since 1984 and has been with the bank for the last several years said she was impressed with the calm flavor of the evening that seemed to float through the building and around the large Christmas tree in the center of the lobby.  It was reminiscent of the earlier small town Manteca, she said. All 20 or so active Soroptimist members brought their favorite yuletide finger foods to stations set around the room.
The Soroptimist Club members noted that the 170 tickets sold at $75 each totaled more than had been enjoyed at last year’s event.  Some 275 community members flooded into the bank’s lobby including present and past city officials, council members and school board officials.  Long time retired East Union High School Principal Richard Durham and his wife Ernie were on hand as was former police chief Charlie Halford and current chief Nick Obligacion and his wife Sallie.
Serving as waitresses and offering finger foods on round trays brought constant smiles and greetings from members of the Interact Club A-Team sponsored by the Manteca Morning Rotary Club.  All Sierra High School girls they included Komalpreet Badial. She trumpeted the value of the group, saying it has helped her with her shyness and her public speaking.  After college she hopes to go into the medical field wanting to become a neurologist.
Stephanie Monarrez said she first went into Interact because she needed community service hours at school.  Then she got more involved and was able to meet many of the leaders of the community.  “It has inspired me to be a leader and to eventually become a member of a Soroptimist Club herself.  She wants to major in International Business and become a Spanish teacher.
Mary Payne said Interact membership has really helped her connect with her peers and with the community.  She said she is very interested in psychology and helping people in a future career.
Sumanpreet Kaur said her Interact membership got her more involved in the community than she would ever have been without the group. She hopes to go into the medical field – probably as a nurse.
The top door prizes went to Johnny Howard, Dan Kaiser, Ed and Belinda Cardoza, Fred Stellhorn and Connie Jorgensen and one gift basket to Chuck Crutchfield.

To contact Glenn Kahl, email