Yesterday, Trucker Buddy International folks gathered here in Louisville to honor the Trucker Buddies of the Month and talk some business. Like they do every year. It's part of MATS.
This year was different than the past few years. Fewer Trucker Buddies were on hand to be introduced and honored for their efforts. In fact, Paul Abelson, our senior tech editor and a guy with a long time involvement with TBI, said there were only two Trucker Buddies of the Month who made it to MATS this year.
Paul says Trucker Buddy, like many other charitable organizations hard hit when the economy falters, is taking one on the chin. Many of the group's traditional corporate sponsors are having difficulties and "cannot be as generous as in the past."
Trucker Buddy has been around for 17 years. Those guys and gals play such a part in informing kids about the important role of trucking. TBI estimates that Trucker Buddies have shared their knowledge and love for trucking with more than a million kids. In real terms, Paul says 55,000 kids a year, 2,755 classrooms in 2009.
Did you know that every U.S. state and most Canadian provinces has or did have Trucker Buddy classrooms? Wow.
But the group says that if Trucker Buddy is to survive, it needs help. It's asking that truckers and supporters throughout the industry join Trucker Buddy Nation as either an individual member or corporate sponsor.
Its founder Gary King was an OOIDA member and old pal of mine. I recall the struggles of the organization's early years, and I saw the industry rally behind Gary and the Trucker Buddies and the classrooms of students who participated. I know Trucker Buddy can make it through these tough times.
For more info on what you can do, you can contact Doug Driscoll at 253-389-5142, or go to truckerbuddy.org or call 1-800-MY-BUDDY. Doug says if you just want to send a contribution, send it to PO Box 2114, Gig Harbor, WA 98335.