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Scholarship winner’s educational goals combine love of trucking, family

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer

This year’s top OOIDA Mary Johnston Scholarship winner, Tony “Derek” Patrick, of Danielsville, GA, says he got his love of trucking from his dad. The son of OOIDA Member Tony D. Patrick, Derek plans to major in diesel equipment technology at Athens Technical College in Athens, GA. 

“My dad has always taught me to treat others like you would want to be treated, no matter if they deserve it or not, because it’s not their actions that get you anywhere in life; it’s yours,” he wrote in his winning essay.

Derek 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 the age of 3, when his dad bought his first rig, Derek said he has been fascinated with learning more about trucks and how they work.

“That night, when he came home with his truck, he gave me a flashlight,” Derek said. “I held that flashlight for him for years as I watched and learned, and then he began to give me different responsibilities such as checking tire pressure or greasing the truck.”

Years later, Derek said his dad let him work with him to make repairs and preventive maintenance on the truck.

Derek was selected based on his grades, extracurricular activities, and his comments on the specific topics that were part of the OOIDA’s Scholarship Committee’s evaluation process.  

Those topics included articulating the positive aspects of the influence of the trucker in his life and what changes he saw in the future that would improve the trucking industry. The committee also asked the students about their educational goals.

Derek said working with his dad on the truck making repairs and doing preventative maintenance led him to want to become a diesel mechanic.

In his winning essay, Derek was asked about changes the trucking industry may see in the next five or 10 years. He answered that the industry may see more regional work, instead of long-haul, in the next few years.

“Truck load freight can be relocated from terminal to terminal with efficiency and accuracy just as LTL’s are done today,” he wrote in his essay. “With streamlined technology and communication, this will be a great benefit to those who love being a trucker, but also love being with their families – the best of both worlds.”

During the past 14 years, the OOIDA Scholarship Committee has helped many 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. LL

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