Creating American Traditions — Veteran’s Day in NYC

Dec 17, 2014

Pat Gualtieri scoffed at the idea the first time he heard it. Shook his head. Probably rolled his eyes.

NY-Americas-Parade-19U-Haul was not only asking to be part of the New York City Veterans Day Parade – or America’s Parade, as it is called today – but it wanted to drive trucks down the streets of Manhattan.

“Yeah, but I don’t want trucks in the parade,” Gualtieri recalled telling U-Haul in 2004.

Ten years and 11 parades later, Gualtieri, executive director of the United War Veterans Council and America’s Parade, can’t imagine Nov. 11 without U-Haul, its enthusiastic Team Members and its glossy U.S. Armed Forces SuperGraphics trucks rolling through New York City.

“U-Haul was the first major corporate sponsor we had,” Gualtieri said recently after the biggest America’s Parade ever, which encompassed more than 270 participating groups, 25,000 participating individuals and 500,000 people in attendance. “Now look at what they’ve done all these years. My guys love U-Haul so much.”

As the relationship between U-Haul and the United War Veterans Council has grown, so has U-Haul’s status in the parade. This November, U-Haul received prime placement for its street banners that remained up for a month in the vicinity of 42nd and Fifth Avenues.

A condensed TV broadcast of America’s Parade was seen in nine major markets on Nov. 16.

Jeff Sonberg, Marketing President for U-Haul Company of Manhattan Bronx and a U.S. Navy veteran, said that New Yorkers have come to understand U-Haul’s mission in the parade over the last decade.

“Our name is out there,” Sonberg said. “I’d say maybe four years in there was still some confusion as to why we were there. They probably thought we were in there to advertise, but that’s not it at all when you get down to it. We support veterans and the military.

NY-Americas-Parade-10“They know us now. Now we’re imbedded. We’re expected to be there. I think we’re the only commercial company on the retail side that is in the parade.”

Six U-Haul trucks and 120 Team Members in matching patriotic attire participated in this year’s parade. Sonberg also was afforded the chance to speak during a 15-second TV spot dedicated to U-Haul in the “red carpet” area.

At one point, veterans presenting a World War II float spotted U-Haul Team Members and walked over with a 4×4 cardboard cutout featuring a picture of U-Haul founder L.S. “Sam” Shoen, a WWII U.S. Navy veteran.

As a perk to U-Haul’s solidified presence in the New York City and Phoenix Veterans Day Parades, Sonberg said more veterans have approached him and are considering U-Haul as a future place of employment. Almost 14 percent of U-Haul’s 20,000-plus Team Members across North America are veterans.

“Being a part of the New York City experience and in preparation for the parade, you start meeting with other organizations because at some point everybody comes together,” Sonberg said. “You get a better feel for what veterans are available to you. And you say, ‘We could find a place for those people.’”

Has U-Haul been involved in your community during your Veteran’s Day Parade? Share with us your story in the comments below!

More articles like this one…

What’s New

Tornado Victims: Free Storage Offer in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas

Tornado Victims: Free Storage Offer in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas

U-Haul is making 30 days of free self-storage and U-Box container usage available to victims of the powerful tornadoes that left a path of destruction Saturday in Rogers and Bentonville, Ark., Claremore and Pryor, Okla., Valley View, Texas, and surrounding areas....

Temple Tornado: U-Haul Offers 30 Days Free Self-Storage in Texas

Temple Tornado: U-Haul Offers 30 Days Free Self-Storage in Texas

U-Haul Co. of North Austin is making 13 facilities available to provide 30 days of free self-storage and U-Box® container usage to families impacted by Wednesday night’s powerful tornado that struck Temple and wreaked havoc along Interstate 35. Many homes in and...

Tornado Recovery: U-Haul Offering 30 Days Free Storage in Iowa

Tornado Recovery: U-Haul Offering 30 Days Free Storage in Iowa

U-Haul® is offering recovery assistance to victims in Greenfield, Red Oak and other areas impacted by the devastating tornadoes that tore through central Iowa on Tuesday. Countless homes in these communities were damaged or destroyed, and a number of lives were...

U-Haul Offers 30 Days Free Self-Storage following Houston Storms

U-Haul Offers 30 Days Free Self-Storage following Houston Storms

Thirty-three U-Haul stores across Greater Houston are extending 30 days of free self-storage and U-Box portable storage container usage to residents impacted by last week’s devastating storms. Powerful winds and rains caused mass damage to homes and businesses,...

Mother’s Day Gift: U-Haul Helps Kurt Warner Charity Furnish Home

Mother’s Day Gift: U-Haul Helps Kurt Warner Charity Furnish Home

In celebration of Mother’s Day, Kurt and Brenda Warner’s First Things First Foundation worked with Habitat for Humanity and longstanding corporate partners like U-Haul® to provide Gabriela, a single mother of four, with a fully furnished home in Peoria, Ariz. The...

Apartment Evacuees: 30 Days Free Storage Offered in Winnipeg

Apartment Evacuees: 30 Days Free Storage Offered in Winnipeg

U-Haul® Company of Central Canada is offering 30 days of free self-storage to the 250-plus tenants being forced to evacuate their apartments at 2440 Portage in Winnipeg. The City of Winnipeg has issued an evacuation of the Portage Avenue apartment block known as...