A Clean Harbors veteran driver to lay wreaths at Arlington Cemetery as part of a family tradition of serving America
Sponsored by Clean Harbors
Before Daniel Boone, before Lincoln, before the founding fathers – in the beginning of America, there was Jamestown and pie.
At that time, Clean Harbors truck driver and veteran Ross Hildebrand’s family was already fighting for the new land. Incredibly, Mr. Hildebrand’s family started serving the colonial military in the 1600s.
Centuries later, Ross Hildebrand is as quintessential and wholesome of an American as it comes – a Norman Rockwell painting that’s come to life to drive a truck. A national transportation van driver based out of Bridgeport, N.J., he’s trucked across nearly all 50 states, with around four million miles under his belt after his time in the army.
“I believe in selfless sacrifice,” said Mr. Hildebrand, who served for 21 years prior to the Sept. 11 attacks and an additional four years after – retiring from the reserves a staff sergeant. “I was blessed to serve. It’s awesome to serve your country.”
As a patriotic American, one of the most significant parts of Mr. Hildebrand’s year is working with Wreaths Across America – an organization Clean Harbors has partnered with for quite some time. He remembers going to visit the graves of some of his family who served in the military and being deeply moved to find that strangers had already placed wreaths on their graves.
“Remembering is part of life,” he said. “The military it’s a brotherhood, a sisterhood. I would fight to the death for these people. They are walking, talking American history.”
Finding those wreaths was the beginning of a journey for Mr. Hildebrand. With Clean Harbors for just shy of four years, he’s become heavily involved in the Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor and teach.
“You don’t go into the military for money or glory. You’re separated from your family,” he said. “It’s important to honor their memory because these are the people who stepped forward when others stepped back.”
This year, he is representing Clean Harbors at the Wreaths Across America event that memorializes veterans’ graves with holiday wreaths annually.
Today, in America, more than 400 years later, there is still pie, honor and courage. Mr. Hildebrand is still honorably serving his country as a truck driver for Clean Harbors.
Mr. Hildebrand said he wears his Army hat to meet other veterans but, when diner servers see he’s a veteran, they double his order of pie.
“I appreciate what everybody does,” he said. “You cannot believe the logistics, the tens of thousands of people helping with Wreaths Across America. It’s the volunteers, people that never served, stepping up for their country.”
“It’s America at its finest.”
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