After Shelle Lichti’s Pride-themed Freightliner dubbed the Rainbow Rider sustained significant damage following a serious truck crash in April, the 28-year trucking veteran says the custom wrap she designed had to be removed.
During this time, she and others fondly called her truck the “naked Rainbow Rider.” However, a makeover is in the works thanks to some help from her company, Hirschbach Motor Lines, headquartered in Dubuque, Iowa.
“It’s been a long time coming to get the process going and not only the recovery process of the Rainbow Rider coming back into existence, but this helps me personally recover from that horrible accident,” Lichti told FreightWaves.
While Lichti paid to have the first Rainbow Rider truck custom wrapped, Hirschbach is not only footing the bill this time around but is hosting the unveiling of the newly wrapped Rainbow Rider at noon CST on Saturday at the Hirschbach Orientation Building in East Dubuque, Illinois. The event is open to the public.
“In this time of divisiveness, we wanted to take more of a public stance in favor of inclusiveness and love,” Jillayne Pinchuk told FreightWaves. “There is a time and place for companies to make positive statements toward a better view of the world.”
Her husband, Brad Pinchuk, serves as president and chief executive of Hirschbach. The Pinchuks and Tom Grojean Jr., who serves as chairman, purchased the refrigerated truckload carrier from Tom Grojean Sr. in 2012.
Hirschbach has a diverse workforce inside the office as well as on the road, said Jillayne Pinchuk, who serves as driver liaison for the company.
“We weren’t necessarily looking for a voice,” she said. “We are open to anyone who wants to work hard and fulfill our mission of providing great service to our customers and safety to the public.”
The 85-year-old carrier has a fleet of more than 2,000 trucks and 3,500 trailers in the U.S.
Besides Licthti’s full-time trucking career, she also founded LGBT Truckers in 2008 after a longtime trucking friend, a gay man, was brutalized at a truck stop.
“Unfortunately, he self-destructed and then killed himself as a result of the attack,” Lichti said. “I wanted to help other truckers who may be feeling isolated and alone.”
LGBT Truckers now has more than 5,300 members.
Fans of the Rainbow Rider have been anxiously awaiting its return to the road for months, Lichti said.
“Morale in the transportation industry has taken a hit with COVID-19, among other things, and having something to be excited about is really needed right now,” she said.