JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — Long-term service to children’s education through their volunteer work and selfless dedication, earned Trucker Buddies Ken and Sandy Cook the ACS MultiMedia Driver of the Month award for November.
Matched with Sandy Zambotti’s fourth-grade students at East Side Elementary School for more than a decade, they began their 11th year in the program by taking time during a two-week vacation in Europe to continue sending postcards.
“They are still as faithful as ever,” said Zambotti. “The class received several postcards from all over Europe. Besides the cards from the U.S. the students receive every week, they had an added history lesson from several countries thanks to Ken and Sandy.”
The Cooks are drivers for FedEx National out of Middletown, Pa.and joined the Trucker Buddy program 12 years ago this month. The couple lives in Yellow Spring, W.V., and takes time at the beginning of each school year to visit the students in Johnstown, Pa., to meet the students, and they go back in the late spring to say goodbye.
“I have been Trucker Buddies with Sandy and Ken for 10 years now. They are the most wonderful people I have ever met,” wrote Zambotti in her nomination.
“From one year to the next, the one thing my students loved most about the school year has been the Trucker Buddy program with Ken and Sandy,” she said. “When I run into former students (already in high school), they will ask if Ken and Sandy are still my Trucker Buddies. They’ll tell me to tell Ken and Sandy ‘hi’ from them.”
Letters from the students show first-hand the positive impact the Cooks have had on them and many of the students referenced the annual spelling bee the Cooks hold for the students, and the fact that their Trucker Buddies always encourage them to do their best and do good in school.
“Ken and Sandy make a difference in the lives of so many children. They send postcards like clockwork…they care about each student and they encourage them to do their best and always make good choices,” Zambotti said. “I would love to see Ken and Sandy honoured for their selfless dedication over the past 10 years.”
The Cooks are among some 3,500 other professional drivers who share their time with elementary classes throughout the world. The only criteria to be a Trucker Buddy is to be a professional truck driver with a CDL who is willing to send a postcard each week to a class in grades two through eight.
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