The students at John Brown Elementary School in Rathdrum, Idaho, are fortunate to have Jim Buwalda as their Trucker Buddy. His nomination, lauding him as being a driver who enjoys spending time, money and effort on their class, led to his recognition as February 2011 Trucker Buddy of the Month.
“Jim has been VERY generous with my students,” says Angela Milks, a John Brown Elementary School teacher. “He sends postcards, letters, boxes of holiday treats, and money for my students. I know that he spends BIG bucks on my students every year, and he always wants to know what else he can do for my class.”
According to Milks, Buwalda sends educational materials such as a digital camera, case, photo printer, atlas, pencils, chalk boards, toothbrushes, McDonalds gift cards, and $10 per student every Christmas, as well as lots of fun things for the kids like stickers, toys, books, hats, gloves, toys, and candy. “The kids get very excited when they see that we have a box from our Trucker Buddy,” Milks adds.
Buwalda, who lives in Mountain Home, Idaho, and drives for Team One, has been a Trucker Buddy for over 16 years and has made a lasting impression on the students as well as his teacher. Jim and his team driver/wife Linda Lou have become personal friends with Milks. Not only do they send cards, letters and gifts to the class but they take time to talk to the class on the phone from time to time. This really encourages the students as well as Milks, too.
Milks went on to say, “Through Jim and the Trucker buddy program, my students have learned valuable life skills: letter writing, handwriting, spelling, reading, map-reading skills, math and the importance of each. For example, they incorporate our math lessons when they get to go to the store and spend the money sent to them from Jim and Linda! They have learned social skills, turn-taking when Jim and Linda come to visit, phone skills for how to have a conversation, how to dial a number, how to give back and say ‘Thank You’ when someone gives you something. The list just goes on.”
Because of the benefit of having the Buwaldas as the class Trucker Buddy, Milks decided to nominate him for Trucker Buddy of the month.
“I cannot express in words how much Jim and Linda mean to me personally, professionally and to my students. They are so very generous, caring and loyal,” she said. “My students have benefitted from the Trucker Buddy program and the Buwaldas. I feel very blessed for them. I feel that they deserve to be the Trucker Buddy of the month. This is something that I should have done long ago.”
Trucker Buddy International, an independent, non-profit 501(c) (3) organization, often called the number one trucking image campaign in North America, has helped educate schoolchildren and introduce educators to the trucking industry. This gives them the world through the eyes of a professional truck driver. The Trucker Buddy program helps to educate and mentor schoolchildren via a pen pal relationship between professional truck drivers and children in grades K-8 as supervised by their teachers.
After an extensive screening process, the professional truck drivers are matched with a class and as directed by the teacher, drivers share news about their travels with their class. Students write letters and send pictures to their drivers. Students' skills in reading, writing, geography, mathematics, social studies, and history are enhanced and learning is made fun.
Since 1992, Trucker Buddy International has helped educate over a million schoolchildren and introduced them to caring, compassionate men and women, professional truck drivers. The on-going success of the program is due to driver volunteers, participating teachers and the contributions of sponsors. There is no cost to the drivers or teachers to participate in the program. The Trucker Buddy of the Month is sponsored by Daimler Truck Products and includes, Freightliner Trucks, Western Star Trucks and Detroit Diesel Engines. The Trucker Buddy program is funded entirely by sponsorships and donations.
Trucker Buddy press releases are provided by ACS, A Xerox Company.