September 1, 2004
Wade Sanborn was a regular at Cafe Posada, a family-owned restaurant in Gilbert, when his affliction with muscular dystrophy changed the owners’ awareness of the disease.
The Mexican food restaurant’s owners, Susan and Oscar Lee, started an annual charity day with Gilbert firefighters to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, not only to make more people aware of the neuromuscular disease, but to raise money for the nonprofit organization that helped Sanborn.
"Getting to know somebody who has it changes the way you look at things," Susan Lee said.
For the sixth year, Gilbert firefighters will wait tables from 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday at the restaurant, 25 E. Ray Road, to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
All of the firefighters’ tips, raffle ticket sales and 10 percent of that day’s restaurant sales will go to the charity, Susan Lee said.
"It’s so good for your heart," she said. "You just got to do these things. It’s a karma thing."
The annual event continued even after Sanborn died three years ago, and became a way for the community to remember Sanborn.
The Lees raised $3,500 the first year, and last year raised $2,000, she said.
About 10 Gilbert firefighters will pair with waiters, help serve drinks and sell raffle tickets, said Gilbert Fire Captain Robert Foster.
"We appreciate them doing this. It’s a great cause," said Foster, a Gilbert resident who has helped out at the restaurant the past four years. "It’s just a great community-service type thing."
Gilbert firefighters will also bring a fire truck to the restaurant for kids to sit in and bring safety information for parents, he said.
The Muscular Dystrophy Association is a charity the International Association of Firefighters — which the Gilbert department is a member of — has been involved with for more than 50 years, he said.
Several firefighters also knew Mercy Apodaca, a Flagstaff firefighter who died about three years ago from Lou Gehrig’s Disease, one of the 43 neuromuscular diseases, Foster said.
Throughout the year, Gilbert firefighters help the association by holding a lockup for people to raise money to get out of jail. They also participate in the Fill the Boot event, which is held in the spring and has firefighters standing in front of grocery stores with a boot to get people to donate money, Foster said.
Find out more
What: Gilbert firefighters wait tables to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association
When: 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday
Where: Cafe Posada, 25 E. Ray Road, Gilbert
Information: (480) 855-6055
To learn more about the Muscular Dystrophy Association, call (480) 496-4530 or visit www.mdausa.org.