Ceremony Salutes Past, Current Drivers of Schneider’s Series of Rolling Military Tributes
Green Bay, Wis. - August 9, 2011 - This morning, Schneider National, a premier provider of truckload, logistics and intermodal services, officially welcomed two very special trucks into its fleet. The new orange cabs are the latest in truck manufacturer Freightliner’s Ride of Pride series and differ from the other 10,000 company trucks in a significant way: they are proudly decorated with decals that honor the United States and Canadian Armed Forces. In addition to inducting the 2011 trucks into the fleet, Schneider National celebrated its 2007 and 2008 U.S. Ride of Pride trucks as well as past and current Ride of Pride drivers.
“It’s an honor to be the only company to have four Ride of Pride trucks in its fleet,” said Steve Matheys, Schneider’s executive vice president and chief administration officer. “These trucks and their drivers represent service and sacrifice to our country, which is even more poignant during the last few days as so many reflect on the U.S. servicemen lost in Afghanistan over the weekend.”
Six Schneider drivers took part in the ceremony on the front steps of the company’s Green Bay, Wis., headquarters. The gathering represented the first time all four military-themed trucks and the past and present Ride of Pride drivers — all military veterans — were in one place at one time.
The event included recognition of Schneider as a Military Friendly Employer by the area’s U.S. Navy’s Operational Support Center. Following the ceremony, company associates were invited to pose for pictures with the Ride of Pride drivers and trucks.
A Program 10 Years in the Making
Freightliner’s Ride of Pride tradition began 10 years ago when Ed Keeter, Freightliner shift manager and Vietnam War veteran, proposed the project as a way to honor U.S. veterans. Originally, Keeter and colleagues planned to simply decorate a truck to take to the local Veteran’s hospital near Freightliner’s truck manufacturing plant in Cleveland, N.C. Freightliner employees embraced the idea so wholeheartedly that it quickly became part of a national effort that includes participating in the annual Ride for Freedom, a procession through Washington, D.C. each Memorial Day. Freightliner also decided to award each year’s Ride of Pride truck to a different trucking company and decorated the cab for the chosen fleet with military-related decals.
In 2007 Freightliner awarded the sixth truck in the series to Schneider National. “As an organization, we didn’t realize the impact this truck would have and what it would mean to drivers, members of the military past and present, the motoring public and our associates,” said Matheys. “The first truck was added to the fleet somewhat unceremoniously and started out doing what every other truck in our fleet does — it hauled freight. As you can see here today, we think about these special trucks quite a bit differently today.”
Special Trucks, Special Drivers
In 2011, the year that marks the tenth anniversary of the horrific 9/11 attacks, Freightliner again awarded the truck to Schneider – bringing the total of U.S. Ride of Pride trucks in the fleet to three.
U.S. Marine Corps veteran and London, Ky.-based driver Jeff Edwards was named the 2011 U.S. Ride of Pride driver. Before joining Schneider in 2006, Edwards spent 13 years in the Marines. He was preparing to leave the military and return to a civilian career when the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks took place. On Sept. 12, Edwards reenlisted and served in Iraq before leaving the Marines in 2006.
One of the most meaningful assignments for the U.S. truck comes next month when it hauls some very important freight. The World Memorial organization, a grassroots group of firefighters, invited Schneider to haul their 9/11 memorial trailer on which the names of the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives are inscribed. Inside the trailer are steel beams from the World Trade Center. The truck and trailer will appear at various 9/11 remembrance events throughout the country, including the Shanksville, Pa., and New York City areas. “I couldn’t have asked for a greater honor than the opportunity to pull this trailer, which recognizes the victims and families of those who suffered from that event 10 years ago,” noted Edwards.
This year also brought an opportunity for Schneider to display the pride its associates take in Canada’s Armed Forces. With Freightliner’s help, the first-ever Canadian Ride of Pride was born and joined the robust Schneider National fleet in 2011.
Serving as captain of the 2011 Canadian Ride of Pride is Royal Canadian Regiment veteran and Schneider driver Darrell Esson. Before joining Schneider in 2006, Esson spent 21 years in the Canadian military and served many international tours – including Afghanistan and several stints in the area formerly known as Yugoslavia. The Toronto native is proud to be sitting at the helm of this patriotic truck.
About Schneider National, Inc.
Schneider National has exceptional career paths for professional drivers and truck school graduates. Solo and team opportunities exist for company drivers and owner-operators in Schneider’s Regional, Over the Road, Dedicated, Tanker and Expedited lines of business. Local and regional solo opportunities also exist for company drivers in Schneider’s Intermodal division.
A $3.1 billion company and one of the largest truckload carriers in North America, Schneider has been a top choice for drivers for 75 years. Schneider provides drivers great weekly miles, steady freight and the comfort of knowing that “safety first and always” is the cornerstone of the company’s philosophy. Schneider is ranked a top-paying carrier by the National Transportation Institute and has been nationally recognized for its support of veterans, Reservists and National Guard members. For more information about Schneider National career opportunities, visit www.schneiderjobs.com. You can also connect with Schneider on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jobsatschneider and Twitter at www.twitter.com/schneiderjobs.