In honor of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, Scholastic Book Fairs recognizes our drivers for everything they do to bring book fairs to children across the country.
Follow along as we step into the well-traveled shoes of Scholastic Book Fair veteran driven Mark Heppel (Orlando) to learn what it’s like to deliver book joy to students every day.
On September 2, Mark celebrated his 28-year anniversary with Scholastic Book Fairs. Since joining Scholastic in 1991, Mark has helped put more than 6 million books into the hands of young readers.
When his alarm clock wakes him at 4 a.m., Mark grabs his morning cup of coffee and then begins his workday.
Arriving at his branch, Mark prepares for his morning route by securing the Book Fair cases that were loaded in his truck the night before, filling out his delivery route report, and entering his first school into GPS.
Then, starting his rig, he takes off to deliver his first round of Book Fairs for the day.
Today, Mark’s schedule includes deliveries to seven schools in the Orlando area.
Fun fact: Mark has delivered more than 10,000 book fairs over the course of his Scholastic career.
Mark's routes take him all over the East Coast, Central Florida, and the Gulf Coast regions. On his longest route, he travels more than 600 miles roundtrip in a single day. Mark considers far-flung travel one of his nicest job perks: "I get to see some beautiful scenery on my routes. I also get to visit cities I've never been to, and small towns I didn't know existed!"
Mark arrives at Sun Blaze Elementary School......and receives a warm welcome from some very excited young readers!
Sun Blaze students present Mark with a special gift to thank him for bringing new, exciting books to their school every season.
Mark unloads the cases from the truck (usually 6 or 9 cases per fair) and rolls them into the school and to the library.
Although this part of the job is physically demanding (especially in extreme weather conditions!), Mark always remains good-natured, greeting everyone with a smile.
Mark hands off the Book Fair to Sun Blaze Elementary School's media specialist.
During his 28 years of delivering Fairs, Mark has developed strong relationships with the schools he serves. Providing excellent customer service and doing whatever it takes to deliver the best Book Fair to his schools is Job One to him.
Mark says goodbye to Sun Blaze Elementary...and then it's on to the next school.
After completing his morning deliveries, Mark returns to the branch to reload the truck for his afternoon deliveries.
On his afternoon route, Mark arrives at Winegard Elementary School (Orlando, FL).
Branded with an instantly recognized panel of popular children's book characters, Scholastic delivery trucks have become synonymous with Book Fair excitement to students everywhere. And, like many Book Fairs drivers, Mark says one of the most rewarding parts of his job is seeing the students' reactions (“pure excitement and enthusiasm”) as they watch his truck pull into their school.
This Winegard Elementary student points out his favorite character on the truck, Captain Underpants, but then clarifies, "It would have been Dog Man, but he’s not on the truck."
Mark wraps up his last delivery of the day and returns to the branch to complete the required post-trip report and turn in the day's paperwork. By the end of this particular day, Mark has delivered 54 book fair cases and logged 137 miles.
Like many at Scholastic, Mark considers his job immensely rewarding. In addition to the places he’s seen and the relationships he’s built, Mark can claim with pride that he’s made a marked difference in the lives of thousands of children throughout his career by bringing them the books they love and most want to read.