U-Haul is marking 75 years of moving America by saluting its pioneers who served in WWII, like Willow Grove native Laderer
V-E Day on May 8 marks the 75th anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe. Veterans such as Henry Chatwin “Chat” Laderer returned home to start a new life after the war, and in doing so planted the seeds of prosperity for U-Haul®, a product of the peace for which they fought.
U-Haul is celebrating 75 years of service in 2020. WWII Navy veteran L.S. “Sam” Shoen and his wife, Anna Mary Carty Shoen, conceived U-Haul in June 1945 when they recognized a basic need while moving up the West Coast, having abandoned most of their belongings since one-way trailer rentals did not yet exist.
From that idea, an industry was born and a new level of mobility became attainable for every American family.
To commemorate both anniversaries, U-Haul is celebrating former Team Members and U-Haul neighborhood dealers who served in WWII, such as Willow Grove native Laderer.
Tank Commander in the 258th
Laderer was born in 1925 to Henry and Florence Laderer. He had 12 brothers and sisters. He grew up in Hatboro, Pa., and attended Hatboro High School.
He joined the Army in 1943, serving as a tank commander in the 258th Field Artillery Battalion. The 258th was part of the Normandy invasion of France, landing on Omaha Beach on June 9, 1944. In addition to the Normandy Campaign, Laderer fought in the Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes and Central Europe Campaigns.
Laderer was awarded the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with five gold stars. He was honorably discharged on New Year’s Day 1946. After the war, he enlisted in the Navy and served from March 1947 to April 1950.
Impressive U-Haul Tenure
Following his patriotic service in two branches, Laderer joined U-Haul in 1958. He was an area field manager in West Palm Beach, Fla., managing current U-Haul neighborhood dealers and identifying new dealers for the network.
In 1962, he was selected as one of six regional field manager representatives. Each representative was chosen according to popular vote by all of the field managers in each region. Laderer was selected for the Southeast Region. He also did a tour in Phoenix as an area field manager before returning to the South as vice president, and later president, of U-Haul Company of North Carolina.
Laderer passed away in 2005. He is survived by his son Barry (Ann), one grandson and one great-grandson. Laderer’s wife, Ruth, passed away in 2015.
The Shoens started U-Haul upon Sam’s discharge with $4,000 of accumulated Navy pay and the courage formed by the cauldron of WWII. With the help of other veterans, the young couple forged their new enterprise from the freedom that victory produced.
Today, U-Haul serves all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces, helping an estimated 11 million families move every year. Olson is one of the many of veterans who laid the foundation for the present prosperity U-Haul enjoys.
U-Haul continues to aggressively recruit veterans and gives them preference in the hiring process, having been recognized repeatedly as one of the nation’s top veteran-friendly employers. U-Haul is also committed to honoring veterans and supporting veteran causes. This is accomplished through direct assistance to veteran groups, as well as participation and sponsorship of Memorial Day and Veterans Day parades, and Pearl Harbor tributes.
These 2020 tributes will peak triumphantly with the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum’s dedication of the renovated Ford Island Control Tower on Aug. 29. U-Haul Pacific Theater veterans’ bios and photos will be displayed in the tower lobby. The tower will offer a new elevator, gifted by U-Haul CEO Joe Shoen, providing public access to the observation deck where America’s lone WWII aviation battlefield can be revered and our heroes remembered.
U-Haul is one of a myriad of companies built by these incredible veterans, who are to be saluted and remembered during this 75th anniversary celebration. Thank you, Chat.
Find more veteran tributes in the History and Culture section of myuhaulstory.com.
* Featured image of Henry “Chat” Laderer, far right, at U-Haul circa 1968.