Trucker Buddy recognized for fundraising efforts

ANDERSON, Calif. — Howard Salmon hit a high note with the class he was paired with when he joined Trucker Buddy as a volunteer in 2005 and now the song writing trucker is looking to inspire others.

Early on, Salmon was as inspired by his students as they were by him, and he wrote a Trucker Buddy song for his class. Frequently accompanied by his guitar when he visited his class, Salmon and the students all sing along together.

“The class immediately responded to him with great enthusiasm and admiration,” said Sonja Padgett, teacher of the Grade 2 class with which Salmon is matched at Anderson Heights Elementary School in Anderson, Calif.

Salmon earned the honors of ACS MultiMedia Trucker Buddy Driver of the Month award for January, through his additional effort to support the organization through fundraising.

Trucker Buddy Driver of the Month Howard Salmon
teaches geography to Sonja Padgett’s Grade 2 class at
Anderson Heights Elementary School in Anderson, Calif.

“This program is so inspiring,” Salmon said. “I don’t have children of my own, and being a Trucker Buddy enables me to give something to lots of children.”

In early 2006, Salmon was moved to share the song with other Trucker Buddy classes and began pursuing options for having the lyrics recorded and set to CD. To date, he has gotten the music recorded and donated, the next step is to get the lyrics added to the music, and he is seeking sponsors to assist with the cost of having the CDs burned.

Part of the song to be recorded includes children singing, which will be performed on the CD by the second graders at Anderson Heights Elementary.

The goal is to have the song available to the public in time for distribution at the Mid-America Trucking Show, which is scheduled for March 27 to 29. Salmon will donate all proceeds from the CDs to Trucker Buddy.

Songwriting is not the only talent Salmon brings to his class, noted Padgett.

“Since he is also an accomplished photographer, we have received beautiful pictures of places we have never been to, including historical monuments,” the teacher said, adding that he also sends pictures of native plants and animals from where they are across the country.

“This year he took a group picture of our two second-grade classes and had it printed on t-shirts, which he gave to each student and teacher,” Padgett wrote in her June 2007 nomination letter. “We all signed his shirt so he could wear it at the truck show in Las Vegas.”

While having all this fun, Salmon still adheres to the basics of the program to supplement and encourage the students’ education.

“Howard has traveled across the country sending us e-mail messages, pictures and postcards,” Padgett said. “We think he would be a terrific Trucker Buddy Driver of the Month.”

Salmon is an owner-operator who lives in Anderson, Calif. and is among some 3,000 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 2 to 8. Trucker Buddy is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to helping educate and mentor schoolchildren via a pen-pal relationship between professional truck drivers and children.

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