Robbie Taberna was a reserve Manteca firefighter flirting with a fulltime career when his life was tragically cut short in a motorcycle accident.
And on Saturday, for the seventh straight year, his friends, family and firefighting brethren will hold a pancake breakfast fundraiser in his honor to raise money for a foundation that awards scholarships to students from the five area high schools that harbor ambitions of pursuing a career in emergency services.
From 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Manteca Fire Station 1 – located at 290 S. Powers – upwards of 400 people are expected to filter through and support an event that has kept the memory of a friendly and fun-loving young man that was just starting to carve out his. The Manteca Fire Department donates the space and individual firefighters donate the time, but it’s the community, according to Tony Taberna, that has made the event successful.
“Robbie and I both went to school in Manteca and were both involved in the Manteca community and the people have really been supportive since we started doing this,” Taberna said – himself a Manteca firefighter. “He was kind of set, thinking that this was going to be his career path at the time – he was on a couple of firefighter lists at the time and was working on the tests that you need to move up on them.
“I think he saw it as a way of giving back to the community that he grew up in.”
The $5 tickets will be available for purchase at the door. A raffle will also be available with prizes donated by individual residents and local businesses. The individual scholarships are awarded by the family at the end of each school year to high school seniors that plan on pursuing either a career in the fire service or emergency medical field upon graduation.
“It’s a lot of our friends – his friend from high school and my friends from the department – that have stepped up to keep this thing going,” Taberna said. “It means a lot to have that kind of support.”