History and Leadership
In November, 1992, a professional truck driver, Gary King, contacted a grade school in Williams Bay, WI and asked the principal for permission to write to a class of students as "pen-pals." One fourth grade teacher quickly agreed, and King began writing postcards and short letters every week. The students eagerly wrote back and asked him questions about driving and the sights he saw. The teacher quickly recognized the value of the letters in stimulating the children's interest in reading, writing and other subjects, and integrated them into her teaching routine. When other drivers saw King writing his postcards and letters at the many truckstops he visited across the country, they, too, became interested in the program and wanted their own pen-pals.
The Trucker Buddy program became incorporated on July 1, 1992. Within the first year of operation, Trucker Buddy grew to almost 1,000 driver-teacher matches. Now the program has over 2,000 matches and almost 60,000 students per year. The Board of Directors was expanded to include active drivers and one teacher. Screening and back ground checks were added to ensure the safety of the children. These are performed on each new and renewed driver. Even the Board of Directors must pass the same test. Trucker Buddies enrich the lives of tens of thousands of school children and places a face behind the steering wheel of trucks across the country.