Trucker Buddy International recognized its 2016 Outstanding Trucker Buddy and Outstanding Teacher award winners during a press conference March 24 at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky .
Trucker Buddy pairs drivers with teachers to help educate schoolchildren on the roles of professional truck drivers. It’s a pen pal system between screened truckers and students in grades K-8, supervised by their teachers.
Gary Killian, a driver for Cargo Transporters, was recognized for his partnership with teacher Rita Woodley and her class at Cotton Belt Elementary in York, South Carolina. Killian, of Claremont, North Carolina, was the only honoree able to attend MATS.
Killian said he tries to be in touch with his class every week. He sends them letters, postcards and model trucks so the students can relate to what he drives.
“I give them a chance to ask me anything they want to ask me about the trucking industry, my life, whatever, it doesn’t matter. I don’t hold back on anything,” Killian said. “I give them 100 percent and I think they appreciate that.”
Killian has been on the North Carolina Road Team and worked with the Highway Patrol. He said he wasn’t expecting this award and is honored to receive it.
Trucker Buddy International honored several other drivers as part of the 2016 Outstanding Trucker Buddies class at MATS:
- Angel Lecomte, a driver for CCC Transportation, teacher – Amber Matts at Healthy Learning Academy in Newberry, Florida
- Michael Schuller, a driver for Alaska West, teacher – Verlene Wilson Cornerstone at Christian Academy in Post Falls, Indiana
- John Haley, a driver for Oakley Transport, teacher – Maria Therres at St. John The Baptist School in Vermilion, Minnesota
Trucker Buddy International honored the following drivers as part of the 2016 Outstanding Teachers class at MATS:
- Lee Lorhr at New Century School in Verona, Wisconsin, driver – Jim Stinemates of Walmart
- Cindy Weise, Renee Stinksen and Tracy Keppy Walcott Elementary in Walcott, Idaho, driver – Matt Slovack Don Hummer Trucking
Also at MATS, Trucker Buddy announced Dave Huneryager of the Tennessee Trucking Association was elected to the board March 24. Gloria Clements was also recognized as Trucker Buddy’s new director of development.