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Matt Slovak of Don Hummer Trucking named May Trucker Buddy of the Month

Matt Slovak, shown here with his Trucker Buddy Class, has been a long-time Trucker Buddy and Boy Scout leader as well as being awarded the Gary King Memorial Show Truck Winner at the 2012 Iowa 80 Jamboree.

The Trucker News Services

6/28/2013

Matt Slovak, a driver for Don Hummer Trucking, has been named the May 2013 Trucker Buddy of the Month following his nomination by Denise Cross, a third-grade teacher at Lincoln Irving School in Moline, Ill., and her class.

Slovak has been a long-time Trucker Buddy and Boy Scout leader as well as being awarded the Gary King Memorial Show Truck Winner at the 2012 Iowa 80 Jamboree.

In the nomination, Cross praised Slovak’s involvement and interaction with her class.

"This is the first year that I have been Trucker Buddies with Mr. Slovak. I inherited him from my dear friend Linda Ford when she retired at the end of the 2012 school year,” she said. “I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but Mr. Slovak completely blew me and my students away with what all he did for us this year.”

According to Cross, Slovak participated in a retirement event at the end of the 2012 for his former buddy teacher, Linda Ford. Cross asked Slovak to be a part of a countdown for her last days on the job. “He came and presented her with a ‘bouquet’ of trucker sayings and a float that was made in her honor with a truck on top of a highway,” Cross said. “After the presentation was done, he came to my room to introduce himself to me and asked if I was going to ‘adopt’ him for the following year. He left a book with pictures of him and his truck, for my upcoming class to look at before they began the pen pal relationship.”

The following August, Cross’s class began exchanging letters with Slovak. They prepared a map with the saying ‘Where in the U.S. is Mr. Slovak?’ and then as they received his postcards from various places he traveled, the class would put the card up and discuss that place.

“All throughout the year we would write back and forth to Mr. Slovak,” she said. “He continued to send postcards and occasionally would make a phone call to our room from the road. Mr. Slovak had the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association send the whole class individual maps of the United States. These maps were a wonderful teaching tool.”

In May, the class capped off their pen pal relationship with their Trucker Buddy by going on a field trip to the I-80 Trucker Museum in Walcott, Iowa. While there, Slovak led the children on an interesting tour of the museum and adjoining truck stop

“My students and I learned so much more about the trucking industry that day,” said Cross. “Mr. Slovak has gone above and beyond with this Trucker Buddy program. He is a dedicated trucker who takes what he does seriously and imparts that care and concern to students with integrity and humor. He is a dedicated family man and avid Boy Scout leader as well. It is my hope that you will honor him with the Trucker Buddy of the Month award."

                                                          

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, Detroit and Progressive Commercial Insurance. Each class of the winning TBOM receives a gift pack of snacks from Frito-Lay.  The Trucker Buddy program is funded entirely by sponsorships and donations.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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