TravelCenters of America Announces 2023 Citizen Driver Award Winners
Lamar Buckwalter and William McNamee chosen for leadership, safety and community involvement
TravelCenters of America announced its tenth annual Citizen Driver Award honorees at the Mid-America Trucking Show, Friday March 31: Lamar Buckwalter of Leola, Pennsylvania and William McNamee of Christopher, Illinois. The travel center network created the award to recognize professional drivers who demonstrate traits that bring a high level of respect to the truck driving profession, including good citizenship, safety, health and wellness, community involvement and leadership.
As part of the honor, Citizen Driver Award winners may select a TA, Petro Stopping Center or TA Express location to be dedicated in their name, allowing their story to be continuously displayed for all travelers that pass through. In addition, TA makes a $2,500 donation to each winner’s organization of choice.
“This year’s winners dedicated their lives to both their careers and serving others,” said Barry Richards, president of TA. “I am truly humbled for the opportunity to acknowledge the heroic actions of these great citizens and thank them for their service to our country.”
The Citizen Driver Program puts a spotlight on some of the most extraordinary drivers today and illustrates the fine examples of professionalism embedded in the truck driving profession. Over 150 nominations for the Citizen Driver award were received this year, from fleet owners and executives, professional drivers, trucking organization members and trucking industry suppliers.
The following distinguished members of the trucking industry served as this year’s judges:
- Donna Kennedy, Director, St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund
- Dave Nemo, On-Air Host, Road Dog Media/Dave Nemo Entertainment
- Todd Spencer, President, Owner Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA)
- Ellen Voie, President & CEO of Women in Trucking
TA launched the program in 2013 with the intention of recognizing the professional drivers who keep America moving. To date, 41 Citizen Drivers have been awarded with this prestigious honor.
Details about the honorable lives of Mr. Buckwalter and Mr. McNamee are listed below:
About William McNamee
Over more than 32 years of driving, William McNamee has dedicated his career to educating children and members of the public about trucking safety. He’s been an active member of Trucker Buddy International for 25 years and even served on the Board of Directors.
Having sat on the Carbon Express Safety Committee and received numerous safety awards and recognitions—including his prestigious selection by the 2019-2020 America’s Road Team—it’s no surprise McNamee has amassed almost 3.2 million accident-free miles. After serving in the Marines as a Nuclear Projectile Assemblyman and Military Police, McNamee is prepared for anything out on the road. He has even assisted with three accidents while driving his truck, administering life-saving medical aid to severely injured motorists.
McNamee became a finalist in the NTTC driver of the year program and took second place in the Illinois Truck Driving Championship. Plus, he’s a volunteer firefighter, Licensed Medical First Responder, and vessel examiner for the Coast Guard Auxiliary. A passionate member of No Volunteer Dies Alone and Truckers Against Trafficking, he also volunteers at VA hospitals and advocates for positive change throughout the industry.
About Lamar Buckwalter
Lamar A. Buckwalter started going out on the road with his dad at the early age of 13 months old. Now, he has 26 years of professional driving and over 4 million accident-free miles under his belt. Starting out as a Jr. Firefighter, Buckwalter also became a Lieutenant, Captain, and Deputy Chief. He’s been an EMT for the last 21 years and a Rescue Technician for 28 years. Most recently, he obtained his Water Rescue Technician and Fire Instructor qualification.
During the 9/11 tragedy, Buckwalter joined the Pennsylvania Rescue Task Force Team and spent two weeks providing invaluable assistance at Ground Zero. In 2003, Buckwalter was awarded Trauma of the Year for saving a woman who was trapped in her car after an accident. And in December of 2022, he received a Clinical Save Commendation for saving a man who was in active cardiac arrest.
For the last 5 years, Buckwalter sponsored a local Make-A-Wish program for their Mother’s Day truck convoy. He was also part of the Road Pro Family of Brands ProDriver, and recently got involved with Four Coles Kids, helping children with special needs. As a sponsor and participant in a local school’s All Pro Dads program, he helped to provide once-a-month breakfasts and fellowship time between kids and their fathers.
TravelCenters of America is the nation's largest publicly traded full-service travel center network. Founded in 1972 and headquartered in Westlake, Ohio, its 19,000 team members serve guests in over 285 locations in 44 states principally under the TA®, Petro Stopping Centers®, and TA Express® brands. Offerings include diesel and gasoline fuel, truck maintenance and repair, full-service and quick-service restaurants, travel stores, car and truck parking, and other services dedicated to providing great experiences for its guests. TA is committed to sustainability, with its specialized business unit, eTA, focused on sustainable energy options for professional drivers and motorists, while leveraging alternative energy to support its own operations. TA operates over 600 full-service and quick-service restaurants and nine proprietary brands, including Iron Skillet® and Country Pride®. For more information, visit www.ta-petro.com.