For the Fourth: Schneider’s Jon Ritscher & Ride of Pride Freightliner

A company driver from Crown City, Ohio has a new patriotic-themed truck to drive in recognition of his eight years in the U.S. Army, including two tours in Iraq.

Jon Ritscher, who has driven for Schneider’s van truckload Northeast regional division for three years, was selected to drive the company’s latest Ride of Pride truck, a new military-themed Freightliner

Jon Ritscher and 2016 Ride of Pride Freightliner

The truck includes historical images representing all U.S. conflicts since World War II. It depicts black and white images 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” are beneath both doors of the tractor, and the hood pays tribute to prisoners of war (POWs) and those missing in action (MIA).

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

This was the 10th time Freightliner presented Schneider with a Ride of Pride truck from Freightliner. Almost one third of Schneider’s employees are veterans or serving in the military.

“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.”

Ritscher spent eight years in the U.S. 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 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ 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.

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“I can’t believe I get the privilege of driving this beautiful truck for a year,” Ritscher said. “Yet the truck doesn’t really belong to Schneider or to me; it really belongs to everyone who has served or has family who have 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.”

“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 a U.S. 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 U.S. in the coming year.”

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 U.S. military.