Bill Moon Scholarship Winners Value Connection to the Industry

This year, nine hardworking students received scholarships from The NATSO Foundation.

This year, nine hardworking students received scholarships from The NATSO Foundation. The Bill Moon Scholarship is awarded to industry employees and their children based on academic merit, financial need, community activities and a short essay.

The recipients said the $2,500 awards will help pay for tuition, but are even more meaningful because they came from the truckstop and travel plaza industry.

Scholarship winner Claire Wilson learned about the program from her father—a TravelCenters of America employee. Wilson, who will be studying engineering at Clemson University, said, “I know that my dad works hard in the industry every day, and I guarantee that I will also work hard while pursuing my college education.”

The scholarship is named after industry pioneer Bill Moon. Walt Muralt, owner of Muralt’s Travel Plaza in Missoula, Mont., said, “When the scholarship is in the name of one of the true pioneers and gentlemen of the industry, it means that much more. Bill was a special man.”

Scholarship winner Matthew Reed has heard about Bill Moon from his father, Jim, who has worked at TravelCenters of America in Westlake, Ohio, for over 30 years. “My father spoke of Bill Moon who he knew and worked with personally, and it is an honor to receive the scholarship in his name,” Matthew Reed said.

Jim Reed, director of truck service marketing and recruiting for TravelCenters of America, first met Moon when he franchised his Iowa 80 location with TravelCenters of America. “I admired the way Bill Moon operated his family-owned truckstop. He held high standards for himself, his employees and his business. He was well respected in the industry, a leader and an innovator, and very supportive of his employees,” Jim Reed said. “Working in the trucking industry for over thirty years, and knowing the values Bill Moon exhibited, it is very rewarding to have my son recognized with a scholarship.”

, a junior at Arkansas Tech University, received the scholarship through Pilot Travel Centers #430 in Russellville, Ark. Lee is studying nursing. His father, Richard Lee, is the general manager at the travel center. “I’ve been taking out loans to pay for school, so I was really excited to get this. My dad was really excited and happy for me,” Lee said.

PAIGE REIHM, a freshman at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, plans to study early education. Reihm learned of the scholarship from her mother who works in the corporate office at Love’s. “It really helps to pay for tuition,” Reihm said.

Tom Love, founder and CEO of Love’s Travel Stops, said Reihm “will greatly benefit from the Bill Moon Scholarship as she works to accomplish her college goals.” 

ANGELA ETHRIDGE, a reconciliations supervisor for Love’s Travel Stops, is studying accounting at Oklahoma State University at Oklahoma City. Ethridge has worked at Love’s for five years and attends school three-quarters time. “I have two boys—10 and 8. I had to wait until my kids got old enough because they understand that mom has school work,” Ethridge said. When speaking of Ethridge, Love said, “Angela Etheridge, staff accountant at our corporate office, is a bright, hard-working individual, and I am proud to call her a Love’s employee.” 

VICTORIA STAVISH, a freshman at the University of Montana, plans to study pharmacy. Stavish’s mother, Lori, works at Muralt’s. Stavish was on her way home from volunteering at a jump rope camp when she received the call telling her she won the award. “I was like, ‘holy moly’. I went into the truckstop to give them a thank you.”

MATTHEW REED, a junior at Kent State University, is double majoring in computer information systems and accounting. Not only does he attend school during the year, he took the equivalent of a semester’s worth of courses over the summer, incurring additional expenses. “The scholarship is greatly appreciated especially at this time,” Reed said.

LOGAN SLOAN, a freshman at the University of Iowa, has worked at Iowa 80 for just over two years. Sloan plans to study electrical engineering. “I really want to focus on energy,” he said.

AUSTIN PIEHLER, a freshman at University of Wisconsin-Madison, is undecided on exactly what he’ll study but is leaning towards communications or journalism. Piehler’s mother does marketing for the Willkomm family’s travel plaza locations. Piehler said, “My mom was ecstatic. It was a good day in my household.”

CLAIRE WILSON, a freshman at Clemson University, is studying engineering with a focus in biomedical engineering. Wilson’s father works at TravelCenters of America’s headquarters. Wilson said the scholarship meant more because of its connection to the industry and her father. “To those who donated to the scholarship program, I would like to say, thank you. I greatly appreciate your generosity and I can assure you that the scholarship money will be put to good use as I begin my college education.”

CAITLYN MILKS, a junior at Georgia State University, is studying interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in international studies. “Receiving this scholarship is allowing me to continue my school career without worrying how school will be paid for,” said Milks. “I can focus more on my studies and not as much on how I will pay for my school.”


About the Scholarship
The origins of the Bill Moon Scholarship Program can be traced to 1989, when the Mason-Dixon Truck Stop Operators Association made a $5,000 contribution for use in establishing an industry scholarship program. In 1993, the Northeast Truckstop Operators Association made a $5, 000 contribution and Carolyn Moon added an additional $10,000. 

The NATSO Foundation began awarding scholarships to industry employees and their families in 1993. Since then, the Bill Moon Scholarship Program has awarded over $250,000 in scholarships.

Each year, the NATSO Foundation holds fundraising events and accepts contributions from truckstop and travel plaza operators and industry suppliers to fund the scholarships. Each spring the NATSO Foundation releases the scholarship application, which is open to all industry employees and their children. 


Apply Now for the Bill Moon Scholarship 
Truckstop and travel plaza employees and their families can apply now for the 2013 Bill Moon Scholarship. Applications are available at here. The deadline is May 1, 2013.



This article originally ran in Stop Watch magazineStop Watch provides in-depth content to assist NATSO members in improving their travel plaza business operations and provides context on trends and news affecting the industry.

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