U-Haul Delivers for Project Hero

One of our first and longest lasting sponsors, U-Haul has been instrumental in helping Ride 2 Recovery serve healing heroes since 2010.

U-Haul is by far one of the most important sponsors of the Honor Ride program,” said Jack Shepard, Honor Ride Operations Director. “U-Haul, which was originally started by a Veteran, is truly a company that supports our nation’s Veterans.” 

 A vital part of the success of Project Hero’s popular Honor Rides, U-Haul provides “great equipment nationwide to transport our event inventory between cities and provide vans and pickup trucks on a local level that is essential for rest stops and SAG,” said Shepard. 

U-Haul has been serving do-it-yourself movers and their households since 1945 when 29-year-old L.S. “Sam” Shoen, who was discharged from the Navy that summer, and his wife, Anna Mary Carty Shoen, tried to rent a utility trailer to move their possessions from Los Angeles to Portland. But because they could not find resources to rent a truck or trailer one-way for their move, they had to take only what they could fit in their car.  

The Shoens were part of a trend: after World War II, a widespread need existed for do-it-yourself moving equipment on a one-way, nationwide basis. Sam and Anna Mary recognized that need and the concept for U-Haul was born.  Their visionary approach facilitated the mobility of millions of people throughout the U.S. and Canada and gave birth to an industry. 

The company was not an initial success. The first purchased trailers broke down with painful frequency, often costing more to repair than could be covered by rental fees. To cut expenses, Sam and Anna Mary moved in with her folks on the family ranch. Although they were broke, they still believed they had a business. Their persistence paid off when the company experienced a meteoric rise in popularity through the 50s and 60s and became the leader in the do-it-yourself moving industry. 

Remarkably, the Shoens accomplished the extraordinary growth of U-Haul without ever accruing any debt and establishing a nationwide network of dealers and loyal customers with their acute dedication to customer service. By the end of 1959, the U-Haul trailer fleet consisted of 42,600 trailers.

“Veterans, like my grandfather, helped build U-Haul into an industry leader by meeting a basic need at a low cost. Our commitment to hiring and helping Veterans has never been stronger than it is today,” said Stuart Shoen, U-Haul Executive Vice President. 

U-Haul CEO and President Joe Shoen is the son of the co-founders L.S. and Anna Mary and two of Joe’s sons, Stuart and Sam, are vice presidents with the family-centric company.

Today, U-Haul maintains the largest rental fleet in the do-it-yourself moving industry. U-Haul also offers self-storage throughout North America, provides industry-leading moving and storage boxes and an extended line of packing supplies to protect customer possessions. 

“Veterans make up an invaluable segment of our U-Haul workforce today. We owe all Veterans such a debt of gratitude, and U-Haul is honored to make a difference – in some small measure – through the hiring and helping of past and present military members,” said Sebastien Reyes, U-Haul Director of External Communications.

U-Haul, which has been honored several times as one of the nation’s top Veteran-friendly employers by Victory Media, is also the largest installer of permanent trailer hitches in the automotive aftermarket and the company supplies alternative fuel for vehicles and backyard grills as the nation’s largest retailers of propane.

“It gives us great pleasure to acknowledge the selfless sacrifice our Veterans have made, and to positively impact them through the services of the many Veteran-friendly organizations we have partnered with through the years,” said Reyes.


  • 40 to 50 million people may move this year.
  • 1 out of 5 people move every year.
  • The average person moves 11 times in a lifetime.
  • 3/4 of all movers are "do-it-yourselfers."
  • 2/3 of all movers move locally.
  • 1/3 of all people in their 20s move in a given year.
  • Nearly 45 percent of all moves occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
  • The annual mileage of North American U-Haul trucks, trailers and tow dollies would move a family to the moon and back more than 9.9 times per day, every day of the year.
  • The annual mileage of North American U-Haul trucks, trailers and tow dollies would travel around the Earth 177 times per day, every day of the year.

Project Hero Partners — Who make it all possible