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Schneider driver Jeff Waggoner is known as a guy who is always willing to help wherever it’s needed.
“I started out as a regional driver in the west before moving to over-the-road where I drove all across the country,” Jeff said. “I’ve helped with flatbeds and driver unloads. Anywhere help is needed I’m willing to lend a hand. Just give me a call and I’m on my way!”
This year, Jeff was able to add another role to his list – Schneider’s 2022 Ride of Pride driver.
Jeff's time in the Army
Jeff is a 24-year Army veteran who split his time in the Army into two parts. He first joined right after graduating high school in 1985 and left in 1989, before he reenlisted in 1998.
“I left the Army because I was young and single, and decided to come back once I was more mature and had a family to support,” Jeff said. “I had to start all over with basic training, but it was worth it.”
During his Army tenure, Jeff was a combat engineer. He was responsible for things like:
- Building infrastructure.
- Understanding prime firing positions.
- Detecting mines.
- Building and detonating explosives.
- Handling rough terrain.
Jeff served tours in Iraq, Bosnia and Serbia. He also spent time in the U.S. Virgin Islands after Hurricane Hugo to assist with natural disaster relief and humanitarian aid.
Deciding on truck driving
Jeff had his first experience with truck driving after he left the Army the first time.
“I was working in Atlanta in a manual truck with no power steering and no air conditioning,” Jeff said. “I definitely don’t miss those days.”
After retiring from the Army, Jeff decided to get back into trucking and attended truck driving school. Once he earned his CDL, he looked around at various companies and found Schneider.
“Schneider stuck out to me because they offered an apprenticeship program sponsored by the VA,” Jeff said. “They also credited my driving experience in the Army, and I was able to start with 10 years of driving experience, which increased my starting pay.”
Staying in his role as a truck driver
Jeff said there are a lot of reasons why he enjoys being a truck driver.
“I really just like driving,” Jeff said. “I love the opportunities it gives you to meet new people, whether it be other drivers at a truck stop or customers. Every day is different and while some days are harder than others, that happens with any job.”
Captaining the Ride of Pride
Being a Ride of Pride driver means more than just driving the truck. It comes with the opportunity to interact with the public.
“Everyday people wave, take photos, call on the CB – they love it!” Jeff said. “I’ve even been called into a weigh station just so the DOT people could take photos. It really is a beautiful truck, so I don’t blame them.”
Being named the Ride of Pride driver isn’t something Jeff has taken lightly.
“I’m honored beyond belief to do this and not only represent Schneider, but also represent veterans and those in active duty,” Jeff said. “It shows we appreciate the sacrifice people have made and continue to make.”
On the home front
Jeff lives in Colorado with his wife. He has three grown children – two sons and a daughter – who he loves spending time with.
When he can find a spare hour or two, Jeff enjoys metal detecting but has yet to discover any buried treasure.