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Waterford speaking at prayer breakfast
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Phil Waterford – the owner of Manteca Ford-Mercury who openly strives to interweave his Christian faith and principles into his business – is the keynote speaker for the 44th annual Manteca Community Prayer Breakfast.

The prayer breakfast takes place Thursday, May 6, from 6 to 7:30 a.m. at the Manteca Senior Center, 295 Cherry Lane. Tickets are $10. Breakfast is served at 6 a.m. with the program running from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m.

Tickets are available from Jay Holmes at 239-9294, Arleen Sevor at 823-5356, Lois Page at 823-6496, and Judy Vasquez at 823-6644.

Despite the slow economy that has been particularly rough on auto sales, Waterford has repeatedly opened his heart and pockets to help others.

This past year he served a Christmas morning breakfast for the needy that brought hundreds upon hundreds of people into his North Main Street dealership to break bread.

He was moved by the sacrifice of war veterans during last year’s Memorial Day event that he presented a brand new Ford Focus to a Vietnam veteran whose car was on its last legs. Waterford simply said it was his way of saying thanks for the freedoms and liberties that American soldiers have secured for him and others. He gave cash to other veterans.

Those are a few of the numerous acts of charity driven by his Christian faith.

The Chicago native is one of five children raised by Alfred and Betty Waterford.

He started his career in the automobile business at age 17 as an entry level salesman. He eventually advanced to sales manager and general manager. In August of 1994 he was one of five chosen in a new program to groom dealership owners that was offered through Ford Motor Co.

Originally he wanted a dealership in Chicago but then the opportunity came for a dealership he was told was in Northern California some 76 miles east of San Francisco. The dealership was going through severe financial difficulties, mismanagement and a poor reputation.

Waterford and his wife - along with children Phil Jr., Eric, Brandon, and Amare - moved to the Northern San Joaquin Valley. He was successful enough to retire Ford’s stock in the dealership in an industry record 39 months.

Waterford and the dealership have earned numerous awards for their performance and customer satisfaction.