OTA helping driver’s son reach his dream

by Katy de Vries

TORONTO, Ont. – Taking your time, doing your best and not getting hung up on the little things are three principles that James McCracken, one of two recipients of the 2002 Bud Barr Scholarship, says he lives by.

McCracken is currently finishing his first year of the two-year law and security program at Fanshawe College in London, Ont., and was recently awarded a $2,500 bursary by the Ontario Trucking Association’s (OTA) Education Foundation.

The OTA makes available $5,000 each year to divide between two students receiving the Bud Barr Scholarship.

The bursary was named after Bud Barr, the head of the OTA Education Foundation, in recognition of his commitment to educating the trucking industry’s offspring.

The funding has been set up to provide assistance to students whose families have encountered difficulties making ends meet as a result of illness, injury or death of a parent.

McCracken’s father, John, was employed by Woodcock Bros. of Sebringville, Ont. He was hauling cargo through the U.S. over a year ago and Mark, his youngest of three sons, was with him on a summer trip.

Both were killed when a pick-up truck crashed into McCracken’s tractor-trailer on the I-69 in Indiana.

“At times it is really hard, of course, but I’ve received so much support from friends and family and my school, the community and the trucking industry,” says McCracken. “It’s one thing when they tell you they will be there for you but when they really mean it and follow up with it, it’s a wonderful feeling.”

He says his closeness with his mother and brother and the pep talks he gets from them has helped him make important decisions when he always wonders what his dad would do if he were in the same situation.

The support system he speaks of has included encouragement from friends of the family in the police services industry and this is where McCracken’s future aspirations lie.

“I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but the support has been so important to me to get me moving and the police officers my family knows have really encouraged me to pursue it,” says McCracken.

The 21-year-old is excited to soon be starting a position with a security firm in London, Ont.

He will be working as a security officer part-time while in school and he is hoping to pick up full-time status during the summer months.

“I’m glad to have this opportunity to get some experience behind me for when I apply to police forces after graduation,” says McCracken.

McCracken’s goal of continuing his education and getting into a career that he enjoys is a lesson his father taught him.

“My dad taught me a lot of good life lessons,” McCracken says, “he has helped make me the person I am today, which I’m proud of.” And, of course, the professional driver taught his son how to drive.

The OTA is calling for applications for the 2003 Bud Barr Scholarship and the deadline is June 30.

For more details call 416-249-7401 ext. 224 or visit the OTA online at www.ontruck.org/education/budbarr.htm.

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