Chuck Lobsiger, a driver for Wal-Mart has been the Trucker Buddy for Nancy Morrison’s first grade class since 2007. She teaches in north Florida Irby Elementary which is a K-2 primary school. Most of the students are from single parent homes and lower socio-economic means.
“As I learned more about Trucker Buddy, I became excited
about the learning opportunities this would bring to my students.
Little did I know that participation in this program would have such
a positive impact on the children and me. Mr. Lobsiger, or Mr.
Chuck as we call him, is our Trucker Buddy. I emphasized "our"
because the children consider him to be a member of our school
family. Each new year I watch a bond develop between him and a
new class of children. His warmth, friendliness, and pride in his job
come through in the moment you meet him. They miss him when
he is away from us and actually squeal with excitement when I tell
them that he is coming for a visit. Excitement over the anticipation
of his visits exceeds that of Christmas! I dare say that he has
achieved celebrity status at our school,” says Mrs. Morrison.
Chuck makes several visits throughout the school year to keep the
class update on Buddy Bears' travels and he shares experiences
about his job. He takes a genuine interest in their learning. He sets
an end of year goal to encourage reading and rewards our top
achievers where he spoils them with gifts as well. Since the Trucker
Buddy Curriculum is different for 1st grade students Chuck has worked
with me to create activities that are developmentally appropriate for
young students. They enjoy tracking Buddy Bear and learning about the
corresponding state flag, flower, and bird. They eagerly await post cards
and enjoy writing back to him. Each year we add a little more to our program.
Ms. Morrison explained Chuck being involved on a school wide level. They have an annual Career Vehicle Day as a culminating event to our Career Studies Month. “We invite various members of the community to bring their work related vehicles to our school. The children visit with each guest to learn about his/her career and how their vehicle is used. We have a range from book mobiles to police rescue helicopters. Each year Mr. Chuck is at our event with his Wal-Mart truck and children love having the opportunity to see Mr. Chuck's truck up close. This past year he became involved in our Jump Rope for Heart event that raises money for the American Heart Association. Imagine spending a February morning with 600 children in various jump rope events. Mr. Chuck was there with a smile on his face and even contributed to our fundraising goal.”
Ms. Morrison said she probably should sum this up with, "Chuck is an incredible person and positive male role model for the children. In addition, he is an exemplary ambassador of the Trucker Buddy Program, not just in the classroom, but by encouraging other truckers to become involved. It is our good fortune to have him in our school family." The following quote in her office applies to Chuck:
"What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal." -Albert Pine
Some of the student comments were:
“We like you so much and you have always been good to our class. I’m glad our class elected you to have you come over.”
“I love you. You are cool.”
“I like Mr. Chuck because he brings us gifts.”
“I love you because you are special and you to school and teach us about your job.”