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April 2, 2016 9:30 AM, EDT

Trucker Buddy Expands Charity Work

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Trucker Buddy International said it is expanding its program in South Carolina with the help of Meritor Inc., donating money to 19 schools with underwriting from PeopleNet, and honored a group of truck drivers and school teachers.

The Tuscaloosa, Alabama-based charity unites elementary school classes with truck drivers in pen-pal relationships. Drivers send the children photographs and letters from their travels through the nation.

Meritor, a manufacturer of truck components and parts, is working with TBI near the company’s York, South Carolina, plant. Drivers of trucks that supply the plant are meeting with children in a nearby school — either in person or through letters.

TBI Executive Director Randy Schwartzenburg said April 1 at the Mid-America Trucking Show that he would like to expand the program with other manufacturers.

Schwartzenburg also said TBI has sent $500 to each of 19 schools — 18 in the United States and one in Kampala, Uganda. Trucker Buddy made the selections and PeopleNet, a provider of telematics and communications for trucking, provided the money.

The grants can be spent on anything from paper and pencils to computer tablets, depending upon what teachers need, Schwartzenburg said.

The group also honored two teachers and six drivers for their dedication to the program.

Tammy Egnew, a Russell Springs, Kentucky, elementary school teacher, and Michael Rexford, a New York-based driver for Regal Services, appeared in person to collect their awards.