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Saying thanks to 1st responders, city workers
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Manteca Police officer Jason Hensley participates in a moment of silence before the luncheon. - photo by HIME ROMERO

For the fifth straight year, Pastor Mike Dillman paid tribute to those serving the City of Manteca on a daily basis.

Participating Thursday behind the city hall complex were all employees, including police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians, to name a few.

But this day – also known as Patriots Day – was held in honor of the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.

“It changed America forever,” said Phil Waterford, recalling the terrorist attacks that took place that day at the World Trade Center, the U.S. Pentagon, and Shanksville, PA.

The owner of Manteca Ford also made a generous contribution to Dillman and his Place of Refuge Church, with members of the Manteca Sunrise Kiwanis Club and interns of his church also contributing by volunteering their time and effort to serve these dedicated city workers.

Among the Place of Refuge Church volunteers were Joseph McIlvain, Ciara Burks, Nicole Nieto, Michael Beasley, David Reyes, and Larry Jones.

They were instrumental in setting up the event, from the tent to the chairs and tables.

 “As interns, we’re all volunteers who practically live at the church,” said Jones.

Added McIlvain, “We believe in doing our part to help and serve the community – that’s why we do it.”

Dillman noted that he’s always honored and privileged to serve the city departments and employees with the free luncheon equipped with fellowship and entertainment.

“(We) acknowledge their service to our city and thank them for being ready at a moment’s notice to defend and assist our community,” he said.

Tim Lund, owner of the Texas Roadhouse restaurant in Tracy, catered the luncheon. Prior to that, a short ceremony was held, honoring outgoing Police Chief Dave Bricker and incoming City Manager Karen McLaughlin.

Waterford, meanwhile, has made a commitment to get folks involved in supporting police, firefighters and city staff during these difficult financial times.

“They’re our resources,” he said. “We just can’t afford to lose them.”