Fred Sweetwood, from the Walmart Distribution Center in Ottawa, Kan., has been named Trucker Buddy of the Month for June 2013 following his nomination by Linda Carson, a fifth grade teacher at Marais des Cygnes Valley Elementary in Quenemo, Kan.
Carson’s nomination said in part, “Fred definitely should be awarded the Trucker Buddy of the Month award! He has been the Trucker Buddy for my class for the past nine years. He is a Quenemo native and has grandchildren and other relatives in our school system. My class has written letters to him about twice each month and he always responds and shares with my class the many cool places he has traveled. Since he has been my trucker buddy for so many years, we have a great curriculum built up.”
According to Carson, Sweetwood regularly shares news of his travels including Yellowstone National Park, western Kansas, and the Oklahoma City Memorial, as well as facts about many other interesting places. “The students absolutely LOVE Fred Sweetwood!” says Carson. “I have so many students in my class missing at least one of their parents so, to the students, Fred seems like another grandpa, dad, big brother or just a really good friend.”
Sweetwood will occasionally make surprise visits to Carson’s classroom, always emphasizing to the children that the Trucker Buddy Program is a bonus for them to enjoy and participate in after their regular school work done. Carson says this is a huge motivator for the students.
“I rarely have any discipline problems in my room, because everyone wants to see what kinds of cool things Fred has planned for us,” says Carson. “One of the biggest highlights of the year is when Fred brings his Walmart truck to show the students. They love it.”
Trucker Buddy International, an independent, non-profit 501(c) (3) organization, 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, Detroit and Progressive Commercial Insurance. Each class of the winning TBOM receives a gift pack of snacks from Frito-Lay.