Helping the Next Generation, The 2011 Bill Moon Scholarship Recipients

Truckstop and travel plaza employees and their families can apply now for the 2012 Bill Moon Scholarship. Applications are available at The deadline is April 13, 2012.

When Joseph Wallace was awarded the Bill Moon Scholarship, his mom, Cathy Wallace, was relieved to have the financial support, but she valued it even more because of where it came from. Cathy has worked for TravelCenters of America for 26 years and currently works at the TravelCenters of America Tampa Travel Center #158 in Tampa, Fla. Working for the truckstop industry has been a family affair for the Wallaces, and all four of Cathy’s kids have worked there as well.

"It was real emotional and really heartwarming for him to have gotten that,” Cathy said. “It meant more for me because it came from this industry.”

Now, Joseph is studying pharmacy at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa and plans to transfer to a university after earning his associate’s degree.

A Legacy of Learning
Wallace is one of 10 deserving students to receive the Bill Moon Scholarship this year. Education was paramount for Bill Moon and his wife Carolyn, founders of Iowa 80 Group. That legacy lives on through the scholarship in his name. The scholarship got its start in 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.

The Moon family continues to run their family-owned business, and many of this year’s scholarship winners have family ties to the industry as well.

Related Studies
Alexander Sibley learned about the scholarship through his father, Michael Sibley, who owns LaPlace Travel Center in Covington, La. Alexander is on a premed track with a major in musical theater at Tulane University in New Orleans. “It’s a lot of work, but it will be worth it,” he said.

For Krishna Detroja, a freshman on a premed track at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., receiving the scholarship was a way for her to thank her parents for their ongoing support. Her mom works at the Wendy’s at Pilot Flying J #270 in Knoxville, Tenn., and has for seven years. “My parents work so hard and it is all for us. They’ve sacrificed a lot, so to show them that we’re working hard to do what we can is important,” Detroja said.

Several scholarship recipients have parents who work within the industry.

Ashton Taylor, a junior double majoring in biology and sociology at the University of Texas, is connected to the truckstop and travel plaza through her mother who is a waitress at the Limon Travel Center in Limon, Colo.

Leanne Hoppe, a junior studying English at Boston University, is also connected through her mother, who is a fuels accountant at Pembroke Travel Center. “I’m grateful and honored to have received it,” Hoppe said.

Not only does Anna Brocker’s father work at Truck World, Hubbard, Ohio, as the chief financial offer, but she has worked there as well. Now she is a freshman at the University of Mount Union majoring in accounting.

All of Miranda Kane’s aunts and her mom have worked at West Winds Truckstop in Green River, Utah, and she has worked there for over two years. Now she is a freshman at Southern Utah University, but she continues to work shifts when she is home on vacation. It was fitting that Kane was at work when she got the call telling her she’d received the scholarship. “I couldn’t believe it. Everyone was really happy for me,” she said.

Employee Education
Scholarship recipient and nursing student Kristen Longwith is a long-term, model employee at Harrisonburg Travel Center in Harrisonburg, Va. Truckstop manager Tim Boyers said she does whatever needs to be done and always picks up additional shifts to cover her school and living expenses. “She has a lot of drive and she has wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember,” Boyers said, adding that she has worked at the location on and off for about 10 years. “You see so many kids that are going to school because they don’t want to go to work or just because their parents are sending them, but Kristen has always known what she has wanted to do. This scholarship helps her so now she can focus on school more.”

Another travel center employee, Angela Etheridge, is working in the industry while pursuing her degree in accounting at Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma City. “I am currently employed at Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores at the corporate office and work as a staff accountant,” she said.

All of the scholarship recipients have impressive backgrounds, and Lindsay Berkstresser is no different. At 18 years old, Berkstresser is one of the youngest students to ever attend law school. By skipping grades and taking college credits while still in high school, she was able to become a full-time law student at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law years ahead of most of her peers. She is connected to the industry through Gateway Travel Plaza where she worked over the summer. All of the recipients expressed their gratitude to the industry. 

{Editor's Note} Truckstop and travel plaza employees and their families can apply now for the 2012 Bill Moon Scholarship. Applications for the Bill Moon Scholarship are available here. The deadline is April 13, 2012.

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