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High School Teacher To Give Away Summer Earnings As Truck Driver: 'Because It's Needed'

PATTERSON (CBS13) - A Stanislaus County high school teacher is driving home a life lesson to his students.  He's switching careers for the summer to be a truck driver to help during a severe driver shortage.

It's pretty obvious what drives Patterson High School truck driving school coordinator Dave Dein.  When he's not steering lessons in his classroom, he's now driving a big rig on the road.  Dein leads one of the first high school truck driving programs in the country where students learn the basics of driving large commercial trucks.  They even get to use a simulator teaching them how to handle real-life problems on the road.

"I've literally seen lives transformed because of this class. That's the reason I do this.  Because it's needed," Dein told CBS13.

Dein is so passionate about his program, he's practicing what he preaches and going back to truck driving for the summer to help during a severe driver shortage. He's even putting all of his earnings towards a scholarship fund for his students.

"What he's doing is amazing. I think it's great that it benefits these students," said former student Ricardo Jimenez.

Jimenez says after being inspired and driven by Dein, he isn't surprised by his former teacher's act of kindness.

"On his lunch, he would not have lunch. He would let you go in his room and use the simulator, let you talk to him about trucking or go out to the truck and ask questions -- that's just the person he is," said Jimenez.

He's a high school teacher truly driven to give. While he is putting all of his summer earnings into the Next Generation In Trucking Foundation, Morning Star Trucking says it will match that amount.   Dein says he didn't have a set financial goal in mind, but now with people offering support, he's setting a goal of $10,000.

"Well the thing is, I don't consider this work," said Dein.  "I'm not giving up anything. I love this, for one thing, and to do it for such a good cause? That's even better."

Dein says right now we're short more than 60,000 drivers and at this rate, we'll be down more than 170,000 drivers in five years.

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