Jon Ritscher

Schneider military support honored with 10th Freightliner tractor in the Ride of Pride series

Aug. 8, 2016
Find annual Ride of Pride truck awarded to truckload and tank truck carrier Schneider.

It’s not common for military veterans to have their past be a major part of their present civilian life. However, those two worlds connect every day for the drivers of the Ride of Pride, a truck series designed as a rolling tribute to members of the United States military – past and present. 

For the 10th time, Schneider, one of the nation’s largest truckload and tank truck carriers and an employer of thousands of associates with military experience, has been selected by Freightliner to receive its annual Ride of Pride truck.

Freightliner presented Schneider with the 2016 Ride of Pride on May 27—the eve of Memorial Day weekend. The truck then made its traditional public debut at Rolling Thunder, a motorcycle rally in Washington, DC, honoring our nation’s veterans, POWs, and MIAs.

“Schneider has long been a valued Freightliner customer, and we are so pleased to again partner with them for the 2016 Ride of Pride program,” said Steve Mignardi, director of national accounts for Daimler Trucks North America. “We know that Schneider places great importance on the contributions of our military veterans, and this truck is a testament to that commitment.”

Schneider has been independently ranked as the top military-friendly employer in the trucking industry, and approximately 28% of Schneider drivers are veterans or actively serving.

“We at Schneider are so grateful that Freightliner once again chose us to receive the Ride of Pride,” said Rob Reich, Schneider senior vice-president of equipment, maintenance and driver recruiting, and US Army veteran. “This year’s truck is yet another way we can express our military support and our commitment to hiring those with military experience into our ranks. We couldn’t be more proud and excited to showcase our truck across the United States in the coming year.”

This year’s tractor includes historical images representing all US conflicts from World War II on. The truck showcases black and white imagery of a beach invasion on D-Day, a helicopter landing in Vietnam and a patrol in the mountains of Afghanistan. The truck also features the American flag and a bald eagle. The words “Honoring all who have served” can be found beneath both doors of the tractor, and the hood pays tribute to prisoners of war (POWs) and those missing in action (MIA).

Schneider driver Jon Ritscher of Crown City OH, was selected to drive this year’s Ride of Pride. Ritscher has driven with Schneider since July 2013 in the Van Truckload NE Regional division. He previously spent eight years in the US Army as a petroleum supply specialist, and used his GI Bill to obtain his commercial driver’s license.

Because Schneider has been accepted into the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ exclusive Apprenticeship Program, Ritscher was also able to earn a $1,266 monthly educational benefit during his first year as a driver, in addition to his Schneider paycheck.

Ritscher, who completed two tours in Iraq, has a sense of nostalgia when he looks at his new tractor, as he manned convoys similar to those depicted on the passenger side of the truck.

“I can’t believe I get the privilege of driving this beautiful truck for a year,” he said. “Yet the truck doesn’t really belong to Schneider or to me. It really belongs to everyone who has served or has family members who served. I look forward to the new experiences I will have with this truck and particularly all the interactions I’ll have with the people who come to spend time with it.”

Freightliner’s Ride of Pride tradition began more than 14 years ago when Ed Keeter, Freightliner shift manager and Vietnam War veteran, proposed the project as a way to honor current and prior members of the US military.

Schneider has been presented with Ride of Pride trucks in 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The newest military-themed tractor will spend its first 12 months traveling the United States to various military-themed events. After that, it will join the Schneider fleet to primarily haul freight, just like the previous editions of Schneider Ride of Pride tractors.  ♦