Association News
Top scholarship winner
Logan Mahalek

By Clarissa Kell-Holland
staff writer


This year’s top OOIDA Mary Johnston Scholarship winner, Logan Mahalek of Garland, NE, is the first to admit he’s got trucking in his blood.

He gets his love of trucks from his grandpa, OOIDA Life Member Wesley “Dean” Wills of Garland. However, his uncle, also an OOIDA life member, and his aunt and mom are all involved in the trucking industry.

“Many of the best times of my life have been in the truck, and I can only thank my grandpa for that,” Logan wrote in his winning essay.

Logan said his grandpa was instrumental in encouraging him to achieve his goal of attending college.

He plans to major in diesel technology at Southeast Community College in Milford, NE. A $2,000 scholarship will help him offset the costs of college. The scholarship can be renewed for another three years for a total amount of $8,000.

“As much as I loved going in the truck and as much as he loved having me, I could never miss school to go (with him),” he wrote.

Logan was selected based on his grades, extracurricular activities, and his answers to the following three questions designed 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.

Logan said that his career choice will combine his love of trucks and his curiosity to find out more about what makes them run. He and his grandpa are currently rebuilding a 1953 Peterbilt together.

“If I wouldn’t have grown up around him, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to build trucks the rest of my life,” he said.

In his winning essay, Logan suggested that one way to improve the image of the professional driver is to make the public aware of how much they actually need truckers and the goods they haul.

“(Some) people think they are worthless, dangerous and should get off the road,” he said. “I believe once people realize how much they need trucks, they would be nicer and appreciate them more.”

During the past 12 years, the OOIDA Scholarship Committee has helped 55 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.

In April, Shell Rotella once again donated $10,000 to the scholarship fund, which OOIDA Scholarship Committee Chairman Bill Rode of Eagle, ID, said is an amazing gift that will go a long way toward helping even more young people pursue their educational goals. LL

OOIDA Foundation announces 2010 scholarship winners


Winners of the four $1,000 scholarships this year, in alphabetical order, are:

Jack Horn of Granby, CO. The son of OOIDA Member J. Scot Horn, he plans to study agriculture production at the University of Nebraska – College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis, NE.

Season Kenlyn Wyatt of Marion, IN. The granddaughter of OOIDA Life Member Robert D. “Gramps” Raypholtz, she plans to study nuclear and chemical engineering at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN.

Alex J. Lindenstein of Gibbon, NE. The son of OOIDA Member Kevin Lindenstein, he plans to study mechanical engineering at the University of Wyoming at Laramie.

Benjamin R. Suiter of Mount Carroll, IL. The son of OOIDA Member Steven Suiter, he plans to study business at Highland Community College in Freeport, IL.

Runner-up for a $1,000 scholarship is Joshua D. Booker of Seminary, MS. Joshua is the son of OOIDA Member Stephen A. Booker. He plans to study engineering or instrumental technology at Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, MS. LL