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Scholarship winner's educational goals combine love of trucking, farming
Dillon Disterhoft plans to major in diesel agriculture technology

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer

This year’s top OOIDA Mary Johnston Scholarship winner, Dillon Disterhoft, of Oxford, IA, says he got his love of trucking from his dad. The son of OOIDA Member Paul Bryan Disterhoft, Dillon plans to major in diesel agriculture technology at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, IA.

“My dad has shown me from an early age that it takes hard work and dedication to be a truck driver,” he wrote in his winning essay. “The long hours and the time away from home can take a toll, but it’s the dedication my dad has to be a good provider and a good truck driver that make the sacrifices worth it.”

Dillon was awarded a $2,000 scholarship for his first year of school, which he can renew for another three years for a total amount of $8,000.

From an early age, Dillon said he was fascinated with diesel engines after helping his dad work on his rig. He also is involved in farming.

“My dad always has maintained his own truck so I was always there to watch and learn,” he said. “He would show me something and then let me try it on my own.”

Dillon was selected based on his grades, extracurricular activities, and his answers to the following three questions posed by the OOIDA Scholarship Committee:

  • List and discuss three positive aspects of the influence of the trucker in your life;
  • How does your choice of an educational goal utilize the strongest attributes of your personality; and
  • Formulate a helpful suggestion on how to improve the public image of professional truck drivers.

Dillon said his dad takes a lot of pride in being a truck driver and always makes sure his equipment is “maintained properly and clean.”

In his winning essay, Dillon suggested several ways to improve the image of a professional truck driver, including educating the public about the trucking industry through a driver’s education program, a high school seminar or a public service announcement.

“I believe that if the public was more educated about the trucking industry they would understand that being a professional driver is not easy, but it is a safe and good profession to go into,” he said.

Dillon considers one of his dad’s “biggest accomplishments” to be 25 years of safe driving.

“My dad has instilled in me that with hard work, dedication and pride you can accomplish all your dreams,” Dillon said. LL  

During the past 13 years, the scholarship program has helped 60 students achieve their dreams of going on to college or trade school. Those eligible for the scholarships include the children, grandchildren and legal dependents of dues-paying OOIDA members.

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