It’s hard to believe how quickly 12 months can go by. It feels like just yesterday my phone rang, and I was hearing those incredible words: "Hello, Jon. Congratulations! You have been selected as the 2016 Ride of Pride driver." I was shocked then, and
There were only a couple weeks between when I was notified and when I picked up the amazing military tribute truck I would drive more than 70,000 miles over the course of a year.
During my time as captain of the Ride of Pride, a lot of people asked if the truck has a name. The first time I saw it, I knew it must be called Valor. I had researched the names of past Ride of Pride trucks like Freedom and Patriot and knew I wanted to stay
The first miles Valor and I put on were for the Rolling Thunder tribute ride to Washington, D.C., on Memorial Day weekend. The emotion, the pride and the respect I experienced at this event would be repeated time and time again throughout my time as the Ride of Pride driver.
Each of the events I’ve attended
Regardless of where Valor and I traveled, I quickly lost count of how many people have gone out of their way to approach the truck and express their gratitude by shaking my hand — not only for my service in the military but for all the men and women who have and who continue to serve. I cannot even guess how many times while driving down the road that passers-by would give me a thumbs-up and a wave.
It was truly touching, and I want all military personnel past and present to know you are very clearly appreciated by so many.
Throughout this past year, I have talked and listened to thousands of people. I have laughed and wept. I have spoken with people who simply appreciate what the truck and my role in driving
Another noteworthy part of my experience was that I was the first Ride of Pride driver who also hauled freight during the annual tour. This meant I could bring the truck to places that no one would have seen it until the tour ended. At some deliveries, employees would say, “Wait right here, our manager has to see this.” It was also great to connect with other Schneider associates, drivers and customers with the truck.
Working with field recruiters at driving schools was another highlight of the experience. I always say that once you find out what’s going to work best for you and your family and your goals, you’ll be happier and more productive
It’s also a great honor as a veteran myself to be part of a company that appreciates current and former military service members.
I can’t share my gratitude enough for the opportunity to represent Schneider in one of the most honorable ways possible. Roughly a year ago I received a call telling me that I was selected to be Schneider’s Ride of Pride driver. It still feels like a bit of a dream.
Thank you to everyone who made this an experience to remember and, of course, thanks to all those who have served and currently serve in the military. You are our heroes.
Did you get a chance to meet Jon or Valor over the past year? If so, tell us about it in the comments. If not, make a point of trying to connect with next year’s truck, which you’ll hear more about soon!