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Packed house for prayer breakfast
The Manteca Senior Center was packed full of residents looking to participate in the National Day of Prayer. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
Phil Waterford had many things to be thankful for as he stood before a packed house at the Manteca Senior Center for the Manteca Community Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning.

But as the the keynote speaker, Waterford – who owns the local Ford Dealership in Manteca as well as a high-end car service for customers looking for hard-to-find autos – couldn’t have been more thankful than for the love that God has shed into his life.

And he couldn’t have been happier with the turnout of more than 240 people who came to honor God in whatever incarnation they happen to believe in.

“They say that it takes a village to raise a child, and that’s never truer when you see so many people coming together like this under a common cause,” Waterford said. “This is all about all of us being together and sharing in the beacon of light that God provides for us.

“Some people call him Allah, some people call him Buddha, and I happen to call him My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As long as everybody is coming together for the common good and working together then we’re doing something special that resonates with the man upstairs.”

During his address, Waterford touched on the need for prayer on things like rampant drug use, abortion, excessive lust, the influx of drugs and illegal aliens at our borders, and the problems and violence facing today’s youth.

He also threw in a crack about needing a prayer for his parking lot full of unsold vehicles.

“When I start my morning and pray I have expectations of great things to happen for the day,” Waterford said. “This is the perfect way to exercise your faith. I really excited to see every faith and ethnicity in attendance today. And when I heard that this was the biggest turnout and there were more tickets sold than ever before, all I could do is give thanks to God.”

According to Prayer Committee President Judy Vasquez, the event more than trumped the turnout last year, and it only took one glimpse around the packed room to see how much more popular the event has become since it was first introduced to the community.

“What’s really great about this is that it brings the entire community together for a common goal, and it gives people a chance to pray together for everything from public safety to education,” Vasquez said. “It’s not very often that you find the chance to get so many people together in one place anymore.”

Leading prayers were Captain Doug Chase for the military, Jim Brown for Education, Dave Bricker for Government, Bob Raymus for Business, Guy Romito for Home and Family, Dotty Thompson for Seniors, Jim Benedict for Ministry and Joey Lyon for Youth. Arabella Whitlock of the Lathrop Christian Center also performed a song for those in attendance.