Trucking association, Simmons announce scholarship awards

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 343 views 

The Arkansas Trucking Association and Siloam Springs-based Simmons Foods Inc. and Affiliates recently announced giving $167,500 in scholarships to 77 high school graduates.

The trucking association will give scholarships from the Carl Tapp Memorial Scholarship Fund to three graduates, two of whom live in Northwest Arkansas. Each will receive a $7,500 scholarship to support the pursuit of careers in medium- and heavy-duty truck technology.

“Without trucks, America stops. And without skilled technicians, trucks stop,” said Shannon Newton, president of the Arkansas Trucking Association. “Truck drivers and diesel technicians are essential to a healthy economy. In fact, one in 10 working Arkansans has a career in trucking.”

Both of the Northwest Arkansas recipients, Caiden Sallee of Gentry and Ricky Watkins of Rogers, plan to attend Northwest Technical Institute in Springdale. Channlyn Vaughn of Jonesboro also received the scholarship, which was established to celebrate the first chairman of the trucking association’s Maintenance & Technology Council.

Simmons will give $145,000 in scholarships to 74 graduates, with more than half from Northwest Arkansas. They are recipients of the M.H. “Bill” Simmons Memorial Scholarship program. In 1979, Board Chairman Mark Simmons established the program in the name of his late father and founder of Simmons. The program was created to support the education of the children of Simmons employees and growers, specifically graduating seniors who are pursuing a vocational, technical or college degree program. Nearly 1,200 students have received more than $1.3 million in grants through the program since it began.

“As a third-generation, family-owned business, we place a priority on people, values, education and growth,” Simmons said. “To build a strong company and a sustainable future, we believe it is important to invest in the next generation of team members who will support quality food production from the farm to the fork, for people and for pets. This scholarship program is about building and maintaining relationships with our families, our farmers and future leaders.”