Company driver Sonja Springman started her transportation career driving school buses, and now she’s continuing to work with kids now that she’s a trucker as a mentor for Trucker Buddy International.
Springman, of LaPlace, Illinois, was named one of Trucker Buddy International’s Outstanding Trucker Buddies during the Mid-America Trucking Show March 23. She was nominated by ninth grade teacher Geraldine Mazua, who teachs at EREA Alain-Fournier in France. Springman drives team with her husband, Tony, for Try Hours. She’s been a part of Trucker Buddy International (TBI) for a year.
“I thought it would be fun, because I missed my school bus kids,” Springman said of why she joined TBI.
As a TBI driver mentor, Springman sends the kids in her class snapshots of her life over the road. She shares videos, photos and letters with them. Not only does it help the students learn about trucking and the United States, but it’s also helped Springman learn about her own country.
“It gives them a chance to see the country through my eyes. To be quite honest, from me doing this, I’ve learned even more about our country and the different states because I try to research it. Then I send them the pictures and I’ll be like hey, this is known for this, and that kind of thing,” Springman said.
She takes it one step further and mails her class tangible parts of the United States. She’s sent them sand and shells from the beaches of Florida and Spanish moss she pulled off trees in the southern United States.
“That way they kind of have part of the United States. I’ll send pictures like hey, this is where that came from,” Springman said.
Springman participates in Truckers Rocks 4 Fun, a national rock-painting initiative among truckers. She sent the first rock she found over to her students.
“I actually took that rock and sent it to them so they can have an American rock over there. I asked them if they could make some rocks or do some pictures, and I would put them on the rocks here and then send them out through the United States. They thought that was really cool,” Springman said.
Springman said she was overwhelmed when she found out she’d been named an Outstanding Trucker Buddy. She enjoys being able to share her country and her career with her class.
“It’s a selfish reward that you get out of it, just to be able to interact with them,” Springman said.