Scholarship winners tell how truckers have been a positive influence in their lives

By Greg Grisolano, staff writer

Chelsea Stokes says growing up a truck driver’s daughter made her realize the importance of family.

Stokes, the daughter of OOIDA Member Matthew Stokes of St. Charles, Minn., is the top winner of the 2015-2016 Mary Johnston Scholarship Fund. She plans to pursue a nursing degree at Winona State University.

In her essay to the scholarship committee, Stokes wrote that, unlike her friends growing up, her dad couldn’t always be there for school events.

“When he got home, all I wanted to do was spend time with him because I knew he’d have to leave soon,” she wrote. “It’s still like that to this day.”

Stokes is one of five scholarship winners chosen by the committee to receive money to pursue a higher education. Eligible candidates for the scholarships include the children, grandchildren and legal dependents of OOIDA members. The scholarship fund awards $2,000 to the top winner and $1,000 to four others. The scholarships can be renewed for a total of fou given her a foundation of “determination, hard work and pride.”

“The values they represent have motivated me to chase my dreams of becoming a doctor,” she wrote.

Kunes was accepted at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., where she plans to major in pre-med.

Kaylee Ann Seeds, daughter of OOIDA Member Garrett Smith from Lusk, Wyo., has been accepted to Vernon College in Vernon, Texas, where she intends to study pre-veterinarian medicine.

Megan J. Hanley, stepdaughter of OOIDA Member Darin W. Hardwick from Wellsville, Mo. was accepted at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Mo., where she plans to major in theater or cinema.

Winners are eligible to renew their scholarships for up to three years. In addition, each year a runner-up is chosen to receive a scholarship if one or more of the winners opts not to pursue a college degree.

This year’s runner-up is Jessica Crawford, daughter of Member John Crawford, of East Berlin, Pa. She was accepted to Lancaster Bible College in Lancaster, Pa., where she plans to major in early childhood education.

The members of the scholarship committee wish to express thanks to the supporters of the fund, especially Shell Rotella, which has donated $10,000 to the scholarship fund for six straight years. LL