Donald Alexander loved being a truck driver. A native of Decatur County, he earned his Commercial Driving License (CDL) from the Alabama Driving Academy in 1999 and immediately went to work for several successful trucking companies, eventually working his way to lead driver for Simpson Nursery in Monticello, Florida.
Simpson Nursery relied on Alexander to train and mentor new drivers. “The drivers depended on his vast trucking knowledge and experience to assist them with their trucking issues” according to his wife, Elisa. “He took his job very seriously. His appearance was very important to him as he thought a professional appearance and attitude were important factors when representing the company when making pickups and deliveries.”
Sadly, Alexander’s career was cut short in a multi-vehicle accident on January 28, 2014 in Milton, Florida.
Simpson Nursery lost a great employee. Elisa Alexander lost a loving husband.
With a desire to honor the memory of her husband and the profession he embraced with enthusiasm and passion, Elisa, a Bainbridge State College alumni and former employee, established the Donald Alexander Memorial CDL Scholarship for Bainbridge State College’s Commercial Driving program.
According to Elisa, the choice was easy. “I wanted to honor my husband’s memory by creating a legacy through the CDL program. Don was a very generous person who loved to mentor and help. This scholarship will keep his spirit alive as well as assist future drivers.”
This generosity provided much needed financial relief for Bainbridge State CDL student, Frederick Speights. Speights, who dreams of owning his own trucking company one day, is the first recipient of the Donald Alexander Memorial CDL Scholarship.
Upon receiving the scholarship, Speights, an Army Veteran, said, “This scholarship could not have happened at a better time for me financially. I am working hard to obtain my CDL because I want more out of life. This career will provide a stable income for me. I want to save enough money to eventually return to college and earn a bachelor’s degree in business so I can start my own trucking company.”
Lauren Harrell, Interim Executive Director of Institutional Advancement at Bainbridge State, worked with Elisa to create the scholarship. “We are fortunate to be able to offer this scholarship to our CDL students through the generosity of Elisa Alexander. What a beautiful way to honor her husband while carrying forth his legacy of service and dedication to the trucking industry.”
Remembering Don, Elisa’s message is simple. “Whether you are driving an automobile or semi, you must always look out for the other driver. Don’t try to second guess other drivers. It is best to wait.”
As Frederick accepted the award, he couldn’t agree more. He pledged to use the scholarship to help him complete his training and enter the commercial driving workforce with a determination of instilling the importance of driving safely to honor the legacy of Don Alexander.
Photo: From left, BSC Interim Executive Director of Institutional Advancement Lauren Harrell, Donald Alexander Memorial CDL Scholarship Donor Elisa Alexander, BSC CDL Student and Scholarship recipient Frederick Speights, and BSC CDL Instructor Fredrick Horne.