Carol Davis

Carol Davis

At Large

Carol Davis is a familiar name to everyone who lives in Manteca and/or one of the surrounding communities. She is also well known in our State Capitol, as well as in our Nation’s Capitol, as an advocate for children and literacy. It seems more than appropriate for Carol Davis to be inducted into the Manteca Hall of Fame in the category “At Large.” Her leadership and involvement in business, education and community service would qualify her to be nominated in any one of these other categories.

The Give Every Child a Chance program that Carol has directed for more than a decade has reached its Founder Antone Raymus’ goal of becoming a model program for all communities. With Carol’s leadership and drive for excellence, the program has accomplished that goal. When Carol started as the CEO of Give Every Child a Chance, the fledgling program was providing tutoring for just 300 children in the Manteca Unified School District. Under Carol’s guidance, the program now provides tutoring and after-school activities for more than 4,250 children, with tutoring sites in Manteca, Lathrop, French Camp, Weston Ranch, Ripon, Escalon, Banta-Tracy and soon, Merced. The operating budget for the program went from $80,000 in the year 2000, to more than $2 million today. The majority of that money has come from Federal and State grants and partnerships to the program. Carol and her staff have made all this possible through advocacy and hard work, and by generating support in the communities served. The program and Carol have been recognized by the California Teachers Association, the California Association of School Administrators, the State Legislature and the U.S. Congressional record.

Carol provided leadership in many other activities in the community. Carol is an active member of the Manteca Sunrise Kiwanis Club, organizing the entertainment for the Annual Pumpkin Fair. She has served as a member of The San Joaquin County Children’s Service Coordinating Commission, and helps to promote the annual CSCC Children’s Symposium. Carol has been an active member of the Board of Directors of the Manteca/Lathrop Boys and Girls Club for seven years.  She has served on the Board of the Manteca Unified Student Trust since its inception.  Carol has been active helping to organize the Special Olympics, Su Salud and Manteca High School Sober Graduation, just to name a few of her other contributions to our community.

David Peter Soeth

David Peter Soeth


Mr. David Soeth has dedicated 39 years of his professional life helping Manteca youth be successful in the classroom and in their personal lives. He has been a classroom teacher for 30 years and a high school guidance counselor for an additional nine years.

Mr. Soeth was a member of the original staff at East Union High School, when the Manteca Unified School District opened its second high school in 1966. He taught English and French at East Union for 30 years. In addition, Mr. Soeth taught Freshman Composition and Speed Reading classes at Delta College in the evenings and summer from 1974 to 1990. Besides his work in the classroom, Mr. Soeth coached Cross Country for 17 years and Track and Field for 10 years.

After 30 years at East Union High School, Mr. Soeth moved to Sierra High School as a guidance counselor, continuing to project a positive influence on the students with whom he worked. One of the first things he did at Sierra High School was to develop a newsletter the Sierra Counseling Department used to enhance communication between the Guidance Department and parents and students.

In addition to his work in the Manteca Unified Schools, Mr. Soeth was active in his church, developing and teaching classes to high school-aged youth. He also was active as an Assistant Scoutmaster, helping Boy Scouts learn skills to move through the ranks in scouting. Both of Mr. Soeth’s sons reached the Eagle Scout rank – the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America. In other community activities, Mr. Soeth works with the San Joaquin County Academic Decathlon, and has served as President of the Manteca Noon Kiwanis Club, which honors students monthly with recognition and scholarships. He is a United States Track and Field Master level Official, and works track meets from the high school level, Junior Olympics and the United States Olympic Trials. Mr. Soeth organizes the Sub-Section Track and Field Meet for local high schools every year, and trains Track and Field Officials for the United States Association of Track and Field.

Dr. Michael Davis

Dr. Michael Davis

Health Care

Dr. Michael Davis was born in San Francisco in l954, but for several decades has called Manteca his home. Dr. Davis resides alongside the patients he serves on a daily basis. He and his wife, Lois, are proud of Manteca, and often attend community functions in support of this great city.

Dr. Davis remains active in his support of Doctors Hospital of Manteca through various roles of leadership. He has served as Chief of Medicine, Secretary/Treasurer of Medical Staff, Chief of Staff, ICU/CCU Medical Director, Critical Care/ER Committee Chairperson, Patient Safety Committee Chairperson, Assistant Chair of Infection Control and ACLS Instructor Program Medical Director. He also belongs to the American College of Physicians, American College of Chest Physicians, American Board of Sleep Medicine, California Medical Association and San Joaquin County Medical Society.

Not only is Dr. Davis active in his profession as a Pulmonologist in Manteca, but also in the community itself. Dr. Davis has volunteered on the Boy Scouts of America Eagle Board for more than 10 years. The Boy Scouts of America provides a program for young men that “builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops personal fitness” – a role Dr. Davis has taken very seriously as he’s mentored countless young men through this life-changing journey. Furthermore, Dr. Davis is active in his church and donates both his time and money to numerous charities. He is always willing to help his fellow man.

Dr. Davis has always been approachable, greeting everyone with kindness and a general sincerity that is very much appreciated. Dr. Davis is a professional in the healthcare industry, who deserves to be inducted into the Manteca Hall of Fame for his dedication and achievements in Health Care.

Frank Guinta

Frank Guinta


After this Oakdale High School graduate received his Associate of Arts degree from Modesto Junior College in 1964, Frank Guinta established a service station business in Manteca. Over the past 48 years, he has become a most-successful businessman, with interests in service stations, convenience stores and restaurants.

None of these accomplishments could have been possible if Frank had not possessed a great work ethic and a desire to help others in the community. Over those years, he found time to be involved with young people – coaching youth football teams, giving students jobs at his businesses, lending them money for their college educations – but most importantly, teaching young people the values he lives by. Hard work, honesty, dependability and generosity have been the hallmarks of his life.

He took failing businesses and turned them into successes by using these values. He is always ready to support worthy causes by donating his time, materials, facilities and finances.  

But going beyond these things, Frank has worked, counseled and advised young people as they were developing the qualities they would need in life. Many have spoken of Frank Guinta as a positive influence in their lives.

So many people, some quite prominent in the Manteca area, have agreed that it is time Frank Guinta be honored by being inducted into the Manteca Hall of Fame.

Joann Tilton

Joann Tilton


A native of Manteca and a graduate of Manteca High School, Joann Tilton has been employed by the City of Manteca for 31 years – 28 of those years serving as City Clerk.

The role of the City Clerk is a trusted one, providing stewardship for all City records, legislative actions, ethics training, responses to the public for copies of public records and elections to local public office.

Joann has taken the term “open and honest government” to heart, and lives that commitment. She personifies the word “integrity.”

Because of the leadership she has demonstrated within the City Clerk profession, she has earned the respect of City Clerks throughout California and beyond its borders. In 2007, Joann was received the distinguished honor of being named California’s City Clerk of the Year. Then in 2008, she received the Quill Award, presented by the International Institute of Municipal Clerks, awarded to Municipal Clerks who have distinguished themselves by making a significant and exemplary contribution to their community, their state or providence and, in particular, to IIMC and their peers.

She has earned the title of Master Municipal Clerk, and has made the certification of Municipal Clerks a top priority. Joann is past president of the City Clerks Association of California and is a trainer of public officials.

She is also an active member of the Manteca community, including Past President of the Noon Kiwanis Club and a board member of the Boys and Girls Club of Manteca/Lathrop.

Married, with two adult sons, she has found time to be a Certified Aerobics Instructor (past 25 years). In fact, she was named Best Local Female Athlete by the Manteca Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2006.

Joann is a true example of someone who has worked all her adult life to become a leader in her profession, and used the remaining hours of the day to better her life and the lives of others.


John Cambra

John Cambra


John Cambra’s expression of Art was not demonstrated in a traditional manner on canvas or other conventional way. His joy in art was expressed in the way he lived his life, the hobbies he pursued and his love for family and community.

Mr. Cambra was known locally and nationally for his building and reconstruction of hot rods and classic cars. Many of the hot rods he built could only be described as pieces of art. His cars have won numerous trophies and plaques, including Best of Show, Best Engine, Best Paint, People’s Choice, Best Truck and Terrific “T.” In addition to hot rods and classic cars, Mr. Cambra won many awards in the West Coast Outboard Racing Association and the International Hot Boat Association. He built and raced boats with the same passion he built hot rods. At one point in his life, he was rated the fifth-best boat racer in the United States. He raced a 14-foot Craftlee SD Class boat with a 500 horsepower engine. His pit crew was made up of enthusiastic family members. John’s daughter, Aimee, was the chief and main mechanic. John’s wife, Karen, and daughter, Kimberlee, took care of all the details of racing.

John Cambra had another hobby. He loved to fly. He earned his pilot license and purchased his own plane in 1996. John became proficient in both multi-engine and IFR instrument flying, and his Port City Aviation instructor said John could do anything with an airplane.

In the business world, Mr. Cambra had a manufacturing business, a steel construction company and two local agricultural ranches.  When he became half owner in Tuff Boys Trailers, John went out of his way to hire local high school students at the business. His purpose was to teach them welding and fabrication skills in the real world to help prepare them for their work careers. John Cambra donated welding supplies and equipment for various Ag/Mechanics/Welding awards at both Sierra and Manteca High School for many years. The John Cambra Ag/Mechanics Scholarship Fund was started in August 2009 for students in Manteca and Ripon –8 high schools. Many young people in our community have benefitted from John Cambra’s “art” of living and giving back to his community.

Lester V. (Les) Thomas

Les Thomas

Community Service

Les was raised in the state of Washington. At an early age he joined the Army and served in the Korean War. Les is very proud of the fact that his son, Bryan, has served two years in the Army and just returned from Afghanistan and is based stateside.

Lester V. Thomas has served the community of Manteca as a volunteer extensively through the 30 years he has lived in the area. Les is always around to help, regardless of the project. He is one of the original members of Flags Over Manteca, and continues to coordinate the distribution and collection of over 2,400 flags. Flags are distributed more than six times a year.

The Manteca Chamber of Commerce has honored Les for his contributions to the City of Manteca by making him the Grand Marshal of the Christmas Parade.

Les is very involved with St. Anthony’s Church. He helps with various luncheon parties for senior citizens, and is always available to provide support in the way of transportation for all who need assistance to get to events and medical appointments in town or out of town. This courtesy is extended to members of the community, as well as members of his parish.

The Knights of Columbus has one of its greatest volunteers in Les. He is always ready to serve at various activities. One service he organized and continues to be active in is his coordination of servers for all funerals at St. Anthony’s Church. He also assists in the setup and take down for the Annual St. Anthony’s Harvest Festival.

Many accolades have been given to Lester Thomas, but the ones he treasures most are the Knight of the Year Award (2009), The Distinguished Service Award by the Chamber of Commerce 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 and the Gladys Brock Award in 2010-2011. These awards recognize the value of volunteerism, which could be Lester Thomas’ middle name.

Martin (Marty) Harris

Marty Harris


Martin Harris has lived and worked in Manteca for several years, and has been a strong promoter of agriculture. As the Chief Executive Officer of Tuff Boy Sales, he has continued the efforts and strong attributes of his parents, William and Lucille Harris.

As a member of the Manteca Unified School District Agriculture Advisory Committee, he has influenced decisions for the betterment of the school district’s agricultural program. The agriculture shop that he designed includes modern equipment that assists in teaching vocational education students. He also suggested future school site acreage be leased out to be farmed, which provided the Manteca Unified School District with a profitable option that goes to the school farm and to offset students’ costs.

Martin has been behind the rebirth of the Manteca Agriculture Boosters, and has provided seed money to continue the program. This group helps to offset prices for student animals at the county and state fairs. These individual funds are a reward for the work students put into this activity. Martin Harris is an ongoing contributor assisting young people to succeed in their endeavor in the field of agriculture.

The students of East Union High School recently nominated Martin Harris for the FFA Hometown Hero Award. This is a prestigious award given by the Delta Cal Section, which includes all of the high schools throughout the region. Martin Harris was selected for this highly respected recognition.

Through Martin’s leadership and organizational abilities, the community is caught up in his enthusiasm and passion for agriculture, and for helping students. This is what makes Martin Harris Manteca’s Unsung Hero and a worthy member of the Manteca Hall of Fame.

Pastor Michael (Mike) Dillman

Pastor Mike Dillman

Special Recognition

An ordained minister with the Assemblies of God, Michael Dillman arrived in Manteca in 2004 from Grass Valley to serve as pastor of The Place of Refuge (formerly First Assembly of God). “Pastor Mike,” as he is called by so many in the Manteca community, has used his own traumatic experiences in coming home from the Vietnam War in the 1970s to utilize Memorial Day weekend to honor veterans and the fallen of our nation. He brought with him the event he had begun in the Nevada County town – an annual commemoration of a traveling replica of the Vietnam Wall.

In addition to his pastoring ministry at his church, the native of Stockton is currently serving as Chairman of an annual Citywide event he organized on Memorial Day weekend called “Not Forgotten.” It focuses on saluting our veterans, remembering the fallen and raising awareness among the citizenry.

The Welcome Home Heroes Foundation was born out of the "Not Forgotten" annual event.  A Traveling Tribute was designed and constructed through the organization to honor all our military men and women who have laid down their lives in service to our country since 9/11.  The memorial is the center piece of the "Not Forgotten" event and stands as a witness to the great sacrifice that almost 6,000 men and women have made in the War on Terror.

Each year, Pastor Dillman hosts Gold Star families in our area, being sure they will also know their family member will never be forgotten, nor will their own sacrifice. He also led the annual Christmas Eve dinner/breakfast for the needy of our City, including presents for the children.

He was honored by the Manteca Chamber of Commerce by serving as Grand Marshal of the 2008 Christmas Parade.

Touching the hurting with healing and hope, and honoring those who serve is a core commitment in his life.

His activities in the community have more than earned him a place in the Manteca Hall of Fame.

Vernon (Vern) Gebhardt

Vern Gebhardt


Vern Gebhardt has devoted his time and talents to the people of Manteca, particularly in the field of education and athletics. After graduation from the University of the Pacific, which he attended on a football scholarship, he began his employment at East Union High School. He distinguished himself as an outstanding teacher, as well as an award-winning coach. He has been granted many awards, including National Mentor Teacher of the Year, University of the Pacific High School Teacher of the Year and Manteca Unified School District Teacher of the Year. The above awards are just a few, but bode well, indicating he was an outstanding educator and coach.

In his career in education, Vern has been active in many professional and community organizations. He was a 37-year member of the California Health, Physical Education and Recreation Association. He served as an officer and negotiator for the California Athletic Director’s Association and Manteca Educators’ Association. Vern has been active in booster’s clubs at both high schools, and has been actively involved in recreation programs in the community of Manteca. Vern not only received awards for teaching and coaching, but also was selected as the Athletic Director of the Year after he became the Administrator of Athletics at Sierra High School.

School activities and the education of young people were always important to Vern, but he also has been very active in the Manteca community. He was elected to a four-year term to the Manteca Unified School District Board of Trustees. He also is serving on the Manteca Friends of Parks and Recreation Committee and is active in the Knights of Columbus.

Vern Gebhardt has distinguished himself as an award-winning teacher, athletic administrator and coach. He has served the people of our community, and has positively affected many young people. He is a well-deserved addition to the Manteca Hall of Fame.