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Manteca remembers fallen firefighter
moore avenue
Fire Captain Bob Grycel displays the new sign honoring Tom Moore to Robin Lewis, the wife of the late Manteca Fire Department captain, at Thursday morning’s Honorary Street Unveiling ceremony at Fire Station 1.

Robin Lewis took a trip down memory lane Thursday.

It was a familiar stretch along South Powers Avenue, from Marin Street to East Yosemite Avenue. She and her late husband, Tom Moore, lived in Powers Tract years ago, and would do their regular walks in that area of Manteca Fire Station 1.

This part of Powers Avenue was officially changed to Capt. Moore Ave.

“It’s an honor to have this street named after Tom,” said Lewis at the Honorary Street Unveiling Sign ceremony featuring a large gathering of firefighters – from near and far, and a few retired – local police, City of Manteca officials, employees, and family members, to name a few.

Lewis now lives in Missouri, just outside of Springfield. Tom’s mother, Janette, was also in attendance.

Manteca Fire Chief David Marques credited City Administrative Assistant III Aimee Rubio for spearheading the efforts of renaming the street in honor of the revered fire captain. “She’s now part of the brotherhood,” he said.

Marques, who added that this special day was a long time in the making, remembered the day of Moore’s death in 1999. It was veteran firefighter Steve Santos who called him with the shocking news of the accidental fall that occurred during a class at the Modesto fire training center.

Furthermore, his loss of life reverberated throughout the community and the region’s fire service.

Retired Manteca Battalion Chief Bob Davis, who had the honors of delivering the ceremony’s invocation, recalled Moore’s funeral service at the spacious Calvary Community Church as being standing room only.

“His passing was one of the defining moments in the fire department,” he noted.

Many shared memories of Tom Moore once again. In 2019, the fire department held a 20th anniversary of Moore’s death with a ceremony held beneath an oak tree – a gift in his honor from the Stockton Fire Department planted two decades earlier – with about 100 or so gathered.

Stories by fire Captain Tony Taberna, Hayward Deputy Fire Chief Eric Vollmer and retired fire captain and current Manteca Councilmember David Breitenbucher about Moore echoed his dedication to family faith, integrity, and his fellow man.

“He led by example,” said Breitenbucher, who remembered Moore’s promotion to division chief and his decision to return to his role as fire captain for his family – he needed more time to spend with Robin and their children Sarah and Kevin as well as working with his church.

Vollmer, who credited Moore for bringing out the best in him, added: “Tom always made enough time for everybody.”

Taberna was wowed by Moore’s creative way of thinking. Included was one training exercise consisting of a five-story building in 1995. “We didn’t have any buildings that tall,” he said.

Among the high-mark areas of town used for that exercise consisted of a freeway sound wall and the nearby Manteca High bleachers, according to Taberna.

“Tom had a way with people – he always brought out the best in them,” Vollmer said.