Susan and Henry Gantner awarded Trucker Buddy of the Month for November 2011
Susan and Henry Gantner have been named the November 2011 Trucker Buddy of the Month. The Gantners were nominated by Chassidy Vessering and her second grade class at Pewitt Elementary. Susan and Henry, owner operators/independent drivers for Roadrunner, drive as a team and make sure to communicate with Vessering’s class at least weekly.
Vessering describes how they communicate. “Mrs. Gantner sends emails at least once per week describing their life and procedures on the road, answering our questions about truck driving, telling us more about them, or relating experiences from their leisure time,” she says. “The class has learned so much about how trucking works, such as: log books, weight checks, fuel cost and mileage, what a manifest is, and how the truck can weigh differently according to the load. During their personal vacation to Switzerland, Sue and Henry emailed photos and related stories of the country's history. One particular story that was very interesting was about how they still herd the cows into the mountain during the spring and a young man lives up there with them until they come down in the fall. We found it amazing that cows get so attached to their bells, that if they lose them, they quit supplying milk! They also sent back artifacts and souvenirs for our class' prize box.”
During one of their drives to California, which they do twice per week, the Gantner’s plotted their trip using the Trucker Buddy Smart Phone app, uFollowit, so that Ms. Vessering’s class could view their route on the map. They stopped at the Pacific Ocean, and collected ocean water, sea shells, and many other ocean creatures to bring back to the class. While they were there, they snapped many photos and uploaded them onto the uFollowit app so that the class could match up the map with the real-life view.
At Christmas time, Vessering says the Gantner’s had a surprise for the class. “Sue and Henry went the extra mile and drove their big rig to our school. We began the visit with a question and answer session in the classroom where the Gantners doted on and made connections with each child,” she said. “We ate cookies that Mrs. Gantner baked for us while sipping hot chocolate. After the questions were answered, we headed out for a tour of the 18-wheeler. Each student was allowed to climb inside the cab to tour the living and driving area and to sit in the driver's seat for a photo. The students were amazed! They didn't even know about the biggest surprise. In the trailer, Mr. and Mrs. Gantner had put together a goodie bag for each student (along with donations from Roadrunner, Speedco, and Flying J Truck Stop). Each student was helped up a ladder and into the trailer to search for their bag of treats.”
According to Vessering, Sue Gantner is an amazing artist. She draws pictures of characters on her iPad, and sends them to the class. Once, she sent the class a picture of a lion who she named Roary. She gave the students details about where he lives, what his favorite food is, and his best friend. The students were then able to write stories to share with her and Henry about Roary!
“I am so happy to be a part of this great program, and to be matched to such awesome trucker buddies! Mr. and Mrs. Gantner truly are the best. They are dedicated to doing the best at their job and to enriching our learning,” says Vessering. “We have been provided so many more opportunities from this experience that I could've ever imagined. I hope to continue this relationship for many years and many classes to come.”
Since 1992, Trucker Buddy International has helped educate over a million schoolchildren and introduced them to caring, compassionate men and women, professional truck drivers. The on-going success of the program is due to driver volunteers, participating teachers and the contributions of sponsors. There is no cost to the drivers or teachers to participate in the program. The Trucker Buddy of the Month is sponsored by Daimler Truck Products and includes, Freightliner Trucks, Western Star Trucks and Detroit. Each class of the winning TBOM receives a gift pack of snack from Frito-Lay. The Trucker Buddy program is funded entirely by sponsorships and donations.