Wreaths Across America's "Trucking Tributes" Presents The Honor Truck Driver
“I was pretty stunned, overwhelmed and kind of dumbfounded,” shares Steve Schildhauer of Sidney, Nebraska of the moment he was notified he’d been selected as the driver for the Wreaths Across America Honor Truck.
The search started last month for a patriotic driver for the newly wrapped tractor and trailer donated by Freightliner and CLC that will haul a load of fresh balsam veterans’ wreaths from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery as part of the Annual Wreath Escort. It was Steve’s baby brother Dan who nominated him for the honor.
“It took my wife and I a little time to absorb what was happening,” Steve said choking back tears. “It’s humbling.”
Steve Schildhauer loves his country and has a rich family history of military service. He served as a U.S. Navy Seabee for nine years of active duty and six and a half years in the reserves. He originally wanted to be a member of the flight crew, but when he failed the vision requirements, he reclassified as an equipment operator.
“I served from 1994 to 2009, and I was fortunate enough due to the timing that I never saw combat, but my step-son has deployed to Afghanistan twice with the U.S. Army,” Steve recalls. “One of my grandfathers served in the U.S. Army and Army Air Corps during WW II, my great-uncle served in the Navy during WW II in one of the first Seabee battalions set up, and he saw combat in Europe. My mom had a few uncles who died in combat during WW II. We come from a very long history of those who fought and served all the way back to the Revolution. I hope I can honor this legacy and do it justice.”
Steve also comes from generations of truck drivers and currently drives for NSG Transport, Inc. They’re busy working out the details and logistics to free Steve up to travel to Maine and be on the road with Wreaths Across America for over a week as the newest member of the Honor Fleet.
Steve acknowledges the vast number of professional drivers who are military veterans and describes the similarities between the two careers. “Drivers and military are mission-oriented people. You’ve got a job to do, and you get it done.”
Since learning of this honor, Steve’s been busy studying the escort route and learning all about Wreaths Across America.
“I had heard of Wreaths Across America and had wanted to get involved but just hadn’t done it yet. There will be some challenges I’m sure, but I’m going to bring my “A Game” and do my job right. I think right now more than ever we need to remember our past and learn from it, so we don’t repeat it. Some of our histories may not be pretty, but we can’t forget it because it’s important. If we give up that history which makes us who we are, we will give up on what we will become.”
Wreaths Across America is honored to welcome Steve to the Honor Fleet and forever grateful to all the members of the transportation industry who help move the mission to remember, honor and teach.
You can hear more of Steve’s interview in our Trucking Tributes Radio feature which airs on Tuesdays at 11:00 AM and again at 4:00 PM on Wreaths Across America Radio.