Matthew Slovak stands with his son, Nathan, and his wife, Candice, after winning the second annual Gary King Trucker Buddy trophy.
WALCOTT, Iowa — Trucker Buddy International has doled out two awards for the month of July. Matthew Slovack has been named the winner of the annual Gary King Trucker Buddy award, presented to one of the Trucker Buddies who enter the Super Truck Beauty Contest at the Walcott Truckers Jamboree in Walcott, Iowa.
Slovack, a driver with Pennsylvania-based Smith Transport, won the competition with his Freightliner Cascadia. A Trucker Buddy since 2005, Slovack was one of four Trucker Buddies who participated in the show truck contest. Bob and Shelley Brinker, Jim Randall and new volunteer Sean McEndree were other Trucker Buddies who displayed their beautiful show trucks.
Either volunteering with Trucker Buddy or creating and maintaining a show truck is no small hobby, but these folks do it all, said Roxane Rose, Trucker Buddy executive director. They are true ambassadors for the trucking industry and it is great to have the opportunity to extend a little extra recognition to them for their efforts.
The Gary King award was launched in 2006 to recognize and honour Trucker Buddy Founder Gary King as well as spotlight a Trucker Buddy who has gone the extra mile. The winner is selected based on both the show truck entry as well as their efforts for the Trucker Buddy program.
The organization has also announced the recipients of Trucker Buddy Driver of the Month for July. This month the award went to husband and wife team, Harvey and Karen Zander, for being outstanding role models for volunteerism (and) enhancing children’s education while racking up four million accident- free miles.
“Harvey and Karen have spent many hours with my students,” wrote teacher Pam Halverson in her letter of nomination. “Activities have included trucker log books, road safety discussions (danger zones), tours through the truck and a variety of craft activities.”
“If I was his teacher I would give him an A-plus,” student Shelby said of Harvey.
The Zanders, who joined the Trucker Buddy program in 2000, have been matched with Halverson’s fourth grade class at Humphrey Elementary School in Waverly, Minn., for the past two years.
“The Zanders have not only volunteered their time to teach us, but they have also generously donated many gifts holiday pencils, erasers, posters, prints, pens, pins, shirts, cameras, craft items, treats and toys,” Halverson related. “We have received mail and e-mails from them also. We have even talked with Harvey on the phone when he has been on the road.”
The students were duly impressed with the Zanders’ driving record, an admirable four million accident-free miles, which was mentioned in almost every one of the 22 students’ letters that accompanied the nomination.
The students also were wowed by the Zander’s well-known and striking show truck, Icy Blu 2, a 2003 International 9900ix Eagle that has won numerous awards in truck beauty contests. Yet it is the other, less known awards the Zanders have received that show the extra mile the couple goes in their commitment to industry and community.
In 1999, Harvey was the recipient of a Jefferson Award for volunteerism. In 2000, he won the National Truck Driver of the Year contest, an annual award given to one of the top five contractors in the United States and Canada by TCA and Overdrive Magazine.
In addition to their Trucker Buddy volunteer work, the Zanders also teach safe driving to a high school drivers education class.
Like many Trucker Buddies, the Zanders teach life lessons as well as practical education, and from them the fourth graders at Humphrey Elementary have learned the value of giving.
“Anyone who gives something gets more back than what they gave,” student Rebecca wrote.
“We could not think of a more deserving Trucker Buddy,” Halverson said. “Harvey and Karen have been outstanding role models for volunteerism and have greatly touched all of us with their kindness and generosity.”
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