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Sip And Serve Saturday Enjoyed By Firefighters
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Serving up coffee at the drive-thru with a smile is Escalon firefighter Kaden Christensen, one of several fire department members that turned out to visit with and serve coffee and pastries to the community on Saturday morning at the Starbucks in Escalon. Marg Jackson/The Times

It was a packed house – inside and out – at the Starbucks in Escalon this past Saturday, as firefighters spent some time trying out their barista skills.

Trading in big rigs and fire hoses for drive-thru duty and taking drink orders, several members of the Escalon Fire Department met with the community as part of an outreach program through Starbucks.

Battalion Chief Joe Pelot said it was similar to what has been done in the past with the Coffee with a Cop gatherings and the local Starbucks reached out to see if the firefighters would be interested in taking a turn.

“I think my guys now appreciate much more what these Starbucks people do,” Fire Chief Rick Mello said, after watching the morning coffee rush.

The Coffee with a Firefighter gathering was scheduled from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and it kept everyone hopping. Some were behind the counter helping to serve as runners getting drinks to the drive thru for delivery in a timely manner, some were busy dishing out pastries and breakfast sandwiches, others were taking time to visit with the public, both inside and outside the coffee shop on Lillian Avenue.

Several pieces of firefighting equipment were also brought in for youngsters to tour and there were coloring books, stickers and plastic firefighting helmets given away.

Starbucks officials were pleased with the turnout and said they expect to have more Coffee with a Firefighter events in the future.

They are also planning Coffee with a Soldier on Saturday, May 13 in Escalon which will be hosted in conjunction with the Blue Star Moms organization. Collections are already being taken at the local Starbucks for coffee to send to the troops; members of the Blue Star Moms will be at the Starbucks in May to accept donations and visit; they also hope to have some military service personnel on hand as well.

Among those on hand to represent the fire department on Saturday morning was one of the newest members, firefighter trainee Kayla Hunter.

“I’m super excited,” she said of having the opportunity to meet and greet the public. “It’s a great thing.”

Pelot said he feels the morning coffee hour went well and they also invited Escalon police officers to attend if they could.

“It turned out really nice, it was nice to see the community come out, they were able to see our equipment, ask questions, it’s a lot of fun,” Pelot said.

Chief Mello agreed that it was a good opportunity to interact with residents in a relaxed atmosphere.

“We had a good community turnout, it went very well and we’re always looking for those community partnerships,” Mello said. “When they (Starbucks) reached out, we thought this is where we want to be. We saw a lot of people, a lot of kids got to sit in the trucks, we got a lot of smiles.”

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Thoroughly enjoying his time as a barista, firefighter Fabricio Gallo shakes up a coffee beverage before pouring it out for a customer at the Escalon Starbucks on Saturday morning, March 25. Marg Jackson/The Times
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A trio of Castillo sisters, Georgia, 8, left; Jessa 3; and Cordelia, 6, had their fire helmets on and showed their smiles while sitting in the fire rig, with firefighter trainee Kayla Hunter enjoying a chance to visit with the youngsters. Marg Jackson/The Times