A Decade of Honor: Reflecting on 10 Years of Riding With Pride

By The Schneider Guy May 25, 2017
Schneider Ride of Pride Trucks

In 2001, Ed Keeter, a Freightliner Trucks factory shift manager and Vietnam War veteran, proposed the idea of decorating a truck in military decals and showing it off at the local veteran’s hospital to honor U.S. veterans. Freightliner’s employees loved the idea so much that it grew into what we now refer to as the Ride of Pride. Each year, a trucking company is awarded with a new military-themed truck for the Ride for Freedom procession through Washington, D.C., which occurs each Memorial Day.

Schneider was awarded its first Ride of Pride truck in 2007 — the sixth in the program’s series. Since then, Schneider has been honored with nine additional trucks — 10 total — which include the only two Canadian military-themed units ever produced.

These impactful trucks resonate with the motoring public, military members both past and present and, of course, the military members who are selected to drive and represent the truck for a full year. Manning the wheel of these rolling tributes is a very personal experience, resurrecting memories from the driver’s time in the service while serving as an ambassador for other servicemen and women.

Schneider’s Ride of Pride impact, in the drivers’ words

2007 Ride of Pride Driver, Lowell Wilderman

“I had seen pictures of the truck, but finally seeing it pull in and knowing that I would be driving it was amazing. Everybody asked me if the truck was mine, so I told them that it’s everybody’s truck, for what it stands for.”

Lowell Wilderman, 2007
Vince Hagen, 2008 Ride of Pride Driver

“The truck speaks for itself; I just get it from point A to point B. Everyone takes such delight in looking at it and recounting the time they served. I don’t think a job can get any better than this.”

Vince Hagen, 2008
Jeff Edwards, 2011 Ride of Pride Driver

“It’s a special honor to be able to drive this truck and to support those in the Armed Forces — and to work for a company that is so supportive of the men and women who serve their country through military service.”

Jeff Edwards, 2011
Darrell Esson, 2011 & 2015 Canadian Ride of Pride Driver

“Schneider and the military go hand-in-hand for me, and being selected to drive the Ride of Pride truck on two separate occasions is an immense honor as a driver and former service member. People often slow down or come up to me at truck stops because they want to thank me or share their stories. It’s because they feel a connection to the truck that opens the door for them to share their memories.”

Darrell Esson, 2011 & 2015
Chuck Ceccacci, 2013 Ride of Pride Driver

“Only after assuming command of the Ride of Pride and taking her around the country, would I realize just how big of a deal it was when sharing her with others. During the Wreaths Across America convoy journey, I made it my personal mission to have a different Gold Star mom join me for each day during the trip from Maine to Virginia. To have a mother who raised such a patriot with me every day was so special. The things they each shared were so candid and private and personal. I have a connection with these women and their families, and I will forever.”

Chuck Ceccacci, 2013
Randy Twine, 2014 Ride of Pride Driver

“This truck is a visual reminder of the people who have served and are now serving our country, and taking it around the U.S. gives me the opportunity to talk to those individuals and their families. You have to be a good listener for this job, but I don’t consider it to be a job. It’s just a very special honor.”

Randy Twine, 2014
Jay Hull, 2015 Ride of Pride Driver

“Throughout the past year, I have laughed so hard at times that my stomach hurt. Other times, I have cried so hard my heart hurt. My times as the Schneider Ride of Pride driver has been a highlight of my life that will stay in my heart forever.”

Jay Hull, 2015
Jon Ritscher, 2016 Ride of Pride Driver

“While I’m grateful and can’t believe I get the privilege of driving this beautiful truck for a year, I know the truck doesn’t really belong to Schneider or me. Meeting the servicemen and women I do is a constant reminder that the truck really belongs to them and their family members.”

Jon Ritscher, 2016

There may be 10 different trucks and 10 different journeys, but Schneider’s Ride of Pride drivers share one overall sentiment: It’s an honor that’s heartfelt and resonates to a person’s core. The Ride of Pride goes beyond driving a specially decorated truck — it’s about sharing a common experience and paying homage to those who came before and those who will come after. Schneider is proud of its military legacy and will to continue to be military strong.

How have Schneider’s Ride of Pride trucks impacted you?


About the Author

Schneider Guy IMG

Schneider Guy loves the “Big Orange.” He’s passionate about the trucking industry and connecting people to rewarding careers within it. He’s been the eyes and ears of our company since our founding in 1935, and he’s excited to interact with prospective and current Schneider associates through “A Slice of Orange.”

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