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Firefighters come to rescue of Jr. Ambassadors
Manteca firefighter Armando Blanco gets ready to take a dinner order during Wednesday’s Tip a Firefighter benefit for the Manteca Chamber of Commerce Junior Ambassador leadership program. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Not even a lack of firefighters slowed down a fill-the-boot charity event organized to help youth in the community.

Wednesday evening the firefighters who turned out at Kelley Brothers Brewing Co. for a fill-the-boot fundraiser had to run out to respond to a fire call at a local apartment complex – leaving another crew of firefighters to pick up the slack in the wake of their departure.

According to Firefighter/Engineer Travis Gooch, events like the one held Wednesday – which will support the Manteca Chamber of Commerce’s Junior Ambassador leadership program – are always well attended and supported by the community.

“We actually sponsored some of the Junior Ambassador students over the last year when we welcomed them out and they spent an entire day with us,” Gooch said. “So when Debbie (Moorhead) asked our union if there was any way that we could help, we already knew that it was a good program.

“And the community has been very generous tonight – with the way that things are right now, it’s more important than ever for these organizations to receive donations with money drying up, and people have been willing to step up and do that.”

On top of the cost of their meal and the tip that they leave for their servers, guests filled the downstairs portion of Kelley Bros. Wednesday to fill the boot positioned at the front entrance of the restaurant.

According to Moorhead, the money raised from the event will be used to help offset the cost of having the Junior Ambassador students attend the Chamber’s annual installation dinner – something that they have historically always covered but would have a hard time paying for with shrinking funds if it weren’t for fundraisers like the one held Wednesday.

“We’re just so grateful to the firefighters and to the community for coming out and supporting this event,” Moorhead said. “We’re blessed to have a community that really cares about their kids, and it shows tonight.”

For more information about the program, visit the chamber’s website at