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Manteca honors city workers
First Assembly Pastor Mike Dillman recognizes Manteca Fire Department Division Chief Randy May and Engineer Travis Gooch for their service Thursday afternoon during a Patriot Day “thank you” luncheon at City Hall. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
Pastor Mike Dillman, after the September 11 tragedy brought down the World Trade Center towers in New York City, had to do something to thank those who go out of their way to protect us.

That’s exactly what he did.

With the support of a handful of Manteca pastors and churches, Dillman put the ball in motion for what would eventually be an annual celebration of Patriot Day honoring civic servants for their role in selflessly providing protection for their fellow countrymen.

With city services closed on Sept. 11, Dillman on Thursday welcomed police officers, firefighters, and other civic workers to the park behind City Hall for a tri-tip barbecue.

“We are honored to receive your services, to work with you, and to serve you today,” Dillman said. “We look forward to this day every year so we can get a chance to say ‘thank you’ for all that you do for us.”

Stockton singer Brian Besser took to the microphone to perform Alan Jackson’s Sept. 11 ballad “Where Were You” in recognition of not only those in attendance but all civic servants that would answer the call for their neighbor and those that they’ve never met.

“I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything that you do,” Besser said. “You are the backbone of the cities of America, and I just wanted to recognize you for all that you do.”

Dillman – who also introduced the father of fallen Marine and Manteca High graduate Charles Palmer who was killed in Iraq – wanted to create an event that honored not only the police and fire departments but also those other city employees that would likely respond in the event of a catastrophic incident.

It took a combination of not only police officers but also responding city workers and a team of volunteers to secure a perimeter around a townhouse where two bank robbery suspects holed up on Friday. It is something that Dillman pointed out when talking about the times that we’re currently facing.

“We’re talking about people here that literally got up from their desks and went into a building in a part of town that everybody else was running away from,” he said. “Some of those people paid the ultimate price, and we want to honor those people – and those who work in those positions everyday – for all that they’ve done for this country.”

Sponsoring Thursday’s event were: The Christian Worship Center; Crossroads Grace Community Church; Noontime Kiwanis; Northgate Community Church; Transformed Through Hope Ministries; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; The Place of Refuge Church; Dr. Sean Sangalang, DDS; Pa Pa Joe’s BBQ and Steakhouse; Manteca Christian Schools; New Hope Church; Calvary Community Church.