Scholarship winners influenced by the truckers in their lives

July 2019

Mark Schremmer


For the recipients of the 2019 OOIDA Mary Johnston Scholarship, trucking has played a major role in their lives. All of the scholarship winners are children, grandchildren or legal dependents of OOIDA members.

“My dad is the trucker in my life,” scholarship recipient Briana Jimenez wrote in her essay. “There are several positives about my dad. One of them is how positive he always is when he’s with us. I know he has bad days on the road with shippers delaying him, traffic and the hours of service issue. But we don’t see that at home. He is always in a good mood and willing to spend time with us.”

Founded in 1998, the OOIDA scholarship helps the children and grandchildren of truck drivers earn a higher education. Each year, OOIDA awards one $2,000 scholarship and four $1,000 scholarships. Each scholarship is renewable for up to four years.

Jimenez, the winner of the $2,000 scholarship, is the stepdaughter of OOIDA member Edgar Escalera of Omaha, Neb. Briana graduated from Omaha’s Millard West High School and plans to attend the University of Nebraska-Omaha and major in pre-medicine.

“I want to be a pediatrician,” Jimenez said. “I believe children are our future, and I want to help them with the best of my abilities.”

The four $1,000 scholarship winners are Kincaid Johnson, Emily Holland, Hunter Eaton, and Diana Tkachuk. Caitlynn Doyle was named the alternate.

Like Jimenez, they have all been shaped by the truckers in their lives


Kincaid Johnson is a stepdaughter of OOIDA member Philip Ward of Nocona, Texas. She graduated from Nocona’s Prairie Valley High School. She plans to attend Texas Tech University and major in kinesiology and pre-physical therapy.

“My dad … is my fan, my teacher, and my encourager,” Johnson said. “Although he may officially be my stepdad, he has been my dad since I was 7 months old. He has been an owner-operator for 21 years. He has worked away from home often to make sure our family has everything we need. In April 2018, he made a decision to find his loads closer to home even though it would mean less pay. He did not want to miss my senior year of high school.”


Emily Holland is the granddaughter of OOIDA life member Rome Carl Ladd Jr. of Harmony, N.C. She graduated from North Iredell High School in Olin, N.C., and plans to study elementary education and special education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

“Not only do I consider him my best friend, I also look to him as my role model,” Holland said of her grandfather. “He is very humble, genuine, caring, trusting and loving toward everyone. He demonstrates a strong work ethic through his commitment and dedication to serving others throughout his 40-plus years of driving a truck and being an owner-operator. I strongly believe that he has instilled in me the importance of following my dreams and to always stay true to myself, my beliefs, and to be that person who can possibly make a difference in the lives of others.”


Hunter Eaton is the grandson of OOIDA life member James Scales of Ararat, Va. He graduated from Mount Airy High School in North Carolina and plans to major in forestry at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

“(My grandfather) has a lot of determination,” Eaton said. “Even when he is having a bad day or not feeling the best, he still gets up and does the job he is supposed to do no matter what it takes. He has had to miss a lot of time with his family, as well as special events, to do his job as a truck driver. He doesn’t take the easy way out no matter how hard or stressful the job may be at times.”


Diana Tkachuk is the daughter of OOIDA senior member Mikhail Tkachuk of Newburgh, Ind. She graduated from Newburgh’s Castle High School and plans to major in business management at the University of Evansville.

“Throughout my life, I have been watching my parents work very hard to support my family,” she said. “Their hard work, sleepless nights and love for the trucking industry remind me how blessed I am to have parents that show me how to succeed in life while enjoying life itself.”


Caitlynn Doyle is the granddaughter of OOIDA life member Jackie Doyle of Goodland, Kan. She graduated from Chaparral High School in Anthony, Kan., and plans to major in biochemistry and neuroscience at Colorado State University.

“During his 30-year career, my grandpa has demonstrated the value of hard work, persistence, initiative and family,” she said. “My grandpa’s 3,775,000 miles in the driver’s seat of eight personally owned trucks reveals a relentless motivation toward supporting his family.”


Since the OOIDA scholarship was established in 1998, $333,519.25 has been awarded to 100 students. After this fall, the totals are expected to increase to about $350,000 for 105 recipients. LL

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, associate editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and nearly two decades of journalism experience to our staff.

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