Last week, more than 100 motorcycles left North Carolina for Washington, D.C., to call attention to veterans, prisoners of war and those missing in action. Leading the caravan was a patriotic-themed Cascadia truck, customized by employees at Freightliner’s truck plant in Cleveland, N.C.
Dubbed the Ride of Pride, this was the sixth year in which riders journeyed to the nation’s capital for the Memorial Day weekend. Ed Keeter, shift manager at the Freightliner plant and a veteran of the Vietnam War, said the idea for the ride started in 2001 — before the most recent war in Iraq — when he and other employees were looking for a way to celebrate Memorial Day.
During the most-recent D.C. visit, the group joined a procession with nearly a million motorcyclists participating in the Ride for Freedom, sponsored by Rolling Thunder, a national nonprofit with 80 chapters dedicated to publicizing POW-MIA issues. The Ride of Pride VI truck has been purchased by Schneider National, which will add the vehicle to its nationwide fleet.
“We had a large number of drivers request the Ride of Pride truck, so we selected one person from a pool of drivers with military service,” says Darel Schoening, regional maintenance director for Schneider. “The task of selecting a driver for the Ride of Pride truck was especially difficult, because over 35 percent of Schneider’s 15,500 drivers are military veterans.”