Transport America driver a real good Trucker Buddy

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Thomas “Hotdog” Barstow Sr., an owner-operator leased to Transport America, was named the ACS MultiMedia Trucker Buddy Driver of the Month for February 2007. Barstow, who has been driving for more than 15 years since leaving a 22-year career in the military, was matched with Lenae Breger-Herman’s kindergarten and fifth-grade classes at Del Prado Elementary School in Boca Raton, Fla., nearly two years ago. Barstow is matched with Breger-Herman’s kindergarten class for the current school year.

“It is seldom that partnerships between the business world and schools are as successful as has been that of ‘Hotdog’ and Del Prado Elementary School,” says Breger-Herman in her nomination letter. “Barstow is indeed the very model of what a Trucker Buddy should be. His contagious enthusiasm was directly responsible for my class becoming deeply engrossed in the experience.”

In addition to sending educational materials and up to five postcards each week to his classes, Barstow also created a Web-based national weather station that provides extensive weather information and serves as a valuable learning tool for students. Barstow’s site became part of the daily Panther in-house news channel viewed by the school’s entire student body, Breger-Herman says. “We hope this project will serve as a prototype for schools throughout Palm Beach County,” she says.

“I think Trucker Buddy is a great program,” says Barstow, who lives in Moyock, N.C., and teams with his son, Thomas Barstow Jr., who also is a Trucker Buddy. Transport America, based in Eagan, Minn., now has 18 drivers matched with classrooms through the pen-pal program.

Each Trucker Buddy Driver of the Month receives a personalized jacket, along with a check for $300 to spend on the class and $200 in Trucker Buddy merchandise, compliments of program sponsor ACS MultiMedia. They also receive an IdleAire adapter, a Koolatron cooler and a complete set of Airtabs for their tractor or trailer. Owner-operators receive a set of steer tires from Continental Tire. The class will receive a CrossCountry USA game from Ingenuity Works, which will help them learn more about how trucks move freight across the continent.

For more information on Trucker Buddy, go to www.truckerbuddy.org.