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City firefighters answer the call to help students
Manteca Fire engineer Sterrie McLeod works the bar during Wednesday’s Tip-a-fireman Night conducted at Applebee’s on East Yosemite Avenue. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Dave Breitenbucher greeted patrons at the Manteca Applebee’s Neighborhood Restaurant.

The City of Manteca Fire Department captain was doing his part for the annual cause benefiting Give Every Child A Chance.

The Tip-a-Firefighter function on Wednesday is held each year to support the various free after-school tutoring programs.

All tips benefited GECAC.

A firefighter’s boot was placed in the Applebee’s lobby. Diners had the option of tipping the firefighter by placing money in the boot or in the order pad of their waiter / waitress.

Firefighters served as food servers.

“We’re leaving it to the younger guys to do that work,” said Breitenbucher, who took pride as the front-door greeter.

He had 10 of his off-duty firefighters – both fulltime and reserve – from the local #1874 IAFF working the fundraiser at the East Yosemite Avenue restaurant.

According to GECAC vice president Chuck Crutchfield, proceeds from this event will go towards the one-on-one tutoring, homework assistance, and the mentor-tutoring programs.

In Manteca, the one-on-one program consists of about 900 students. Of that, 338 are volunteer tutors, with Manteca High, East Union and Sierra among the 29 sites around town.

The mentor-tutor program is open to first- through 12th- grade students.

Students and their mentors – folks range in age from fifth-grade students to senior citizens – meet on a twice-a-week basis for an hour each time, working on math, language arts, sciences, and other core subjects.

In order to qualify, they’re required to provide proof of their academic struggles. Students must have poor grades – “Ds” or “Fs” – from the third trimester of the previous year or be of special needs.

GECAC has 45 locations – 31 at school sites and seven in community-based organizations – while also servicing Lathrop, Ripon, French Camp, Weston Ranch, Banta and Escalon.

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