‘Ride of Pride III’ to Participate in Memorial Day Weekend Events in Washington, D.C. and Local Area before Joining J.B. Hunt’s Fleet
CLEVELAND, N.C. … Freightliner LLC’s Cleveland Truck Manufacturing Plant (TMP) employees have collaborated once more and have designed a one-of-a kind truck to honor the memory of our military’s veterans, MIAs and POWs.
The highly-decorated Freightliner Century Class model truck, named “Ride of Pride III”, is leading a patriotic caravan of more than 100 N.C. motorcyclists on a 400-mile journey to the nation’s capitol today. Employee volunteers will return with the memorial truck by Monday to participate in local veterans Memorial Day activities before it becomes part of J.B. Hunt’s truck fleet.
“In honor of those who have served and those who continue to serve in our armed forces today, Freightliner plant employees have come together to build the Ride of Pride III, in tribute to war veterans, POWs and MIAs,” said Freightliner Cleveland Truck Manufacturing Plant Manager John Stevenson. “We are grateful that J.B. Hunt will be able to use the truck to meet their business needs across the country while making it visible to thousands of people throughout the U.S.”
The Ride of Pride III truck has been purchased by J.B. Hunt, located in Lowell, Ark., and will become part of the company’s 11,000-truck fleet after its Memorial Day weekend activities. The truck will be used to service the company’s customers located in the western United States and will be driven daily by J.B. Hunt Driver Dave Kinzel, a Vietnam army veteran.
“We’re honored to have the opportunity to add the Freightliner Ride of Pride III truck to our fleet,” said J.B. Hunt Vice President Bob Ralston. “It honors those individuals who have given their lives fighting for the very freedom we enjoy today. It’s a true testament of their strength, will and bravery.”
The special full cab artwork for this year’s Ride of Pride III truck features the words You Are Not Forgotten below a red, white and blue ribbon on the front hood. Strands of barbed wire decorate the side panels of the vehicle, which are broken in half by an American bald eagle featuring an array of red, white and blue feathers.
The ‘Ride of Pride III’ began with an early morning tribute at the Freightliner facility in Cleveland, N.C. Local and North Carolina elected officials joined Freightliner employees to sing patriotic songs, observe the flag raising ceremony and 21-gun salute by the Veterans Council of Rowan County Honor Guard.
To cheers of flag-waving employees and well-wishers, the truck along with more than 100 motorcyclists pulled onto NC Highway 70 west and Interstate 77 north toward the nation’s capital.
Employee volunteers will display the Ride of Pride III truck at the veterans hospital in Washington D.C. on Saturday, May 29 and then will join 250,000 motorcycle-riding veterans’ supporters from across the country on Sunday, May 30 for the Rolling Thunder® national Ride for Freedom event. It will have a prominent place in the annual ride through the nation’s capital in remembrance of POWs and MIAs - the first non-motorcycle in a miles-long procession - and serve as a traffic blocker or barricade at the Pentagon.
On Sunday, May 30, employee volunteers will drive the truck to the annual memorial service at the Salisbury (N.C.) National Cemetery, the Hefner VA Medical Center and Local VFW 3006.
The Cleveland, N.C., Truck Manufacturing Plant employs more than 3,000 people in the production of Freightliner-brand heavy-duty (Class 8) trucks.
Freightliner LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is the leading heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Freightliner produces and markets Class