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Military tribute truck draws on the ‘winged knights’, the Husaria, of Poland’s history as inspiration

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Updated Feb 1, 2019
Airbrushed murals all around the cab and sleeper exteriors of this 2007 Coronado depict the Husaria, or Polish Hussars, of the 16th-18th centuries. This driver-side-sleeper illustration makes explicit the intention of owner-operator Jerry Stetz to draw the line between the ancient defenders/warriors and modern combat soldiers fighting for what is his home today and for the last 20-plus years, the United States.Airbrushed murals all around the cab and sleeper exteriors of this 2007 Coronado depict the Husaria, or Polish Hussars, of the 16th-18th centuries. This driver-side-sleeper illustration makes explicit the intention of owner-operator Jerry Stetz to draw the line between the ancient defenders/warriors and modern combat soldiers fighting for what is his home today and for the last 20-plus years, the United States.

Owner-operator Jerry Stetz has been trucking roughly since shortly following the time he first emigrated from Poland to Chicago in the mid-1990s, working first for a time as support staff at O’Hare airport. After plenty time spent learning English, he worked as a company driver for six months’ worth of learning the trucking ropes, after which “I bought my own” truck and has been running as an owner-operator ever since, he says.

Now based in Florida with his wife and children, who followed him after a time to the United States and are citizens today, Stetz brought the power unit anchoring his trucking business to Washington, D.C., in October as part of “That’s a big 10-4 on D.C.” on the National Mall, where he spoke to positives he saw to his participation in the event, principally an expression of unity he feels with other drivers.

Stetz’ Freightliner is a 2007-model Coronado powered by a 500-hp Detroit engine.Stetz’ Freightliner is a 2007-model Coronado powered by a 500-hp Detroit engine. This passenger-side profile view shows the extent to which muraling covers the exterior. Tampa Bay-based airbrush artist Gary Smith did the muraling work, Stetz notes.This passenger-side profile view shows the extent to which muraling covers the exterior. Tampa Bay-based airbrush artist Gary Smith did the muraling work, Stetz notes. Detail of the passenger-side illustrations.Detail of the passenger-side illustrations. Stetz is the founder of the Polska Jazda (which he translates to “Polish Ride”) motorcycle and big-rig enthusiasts group — he showed at 10-4 parked directly behind another member of that group, Robert Budzik, whose custom Kenworth T2000 readers got a closer look at a couple weeks back here. Two-three times a year, Stetz says, the group gets together in Georgia, Tennessee, the Carolinas or other locale to ride two-wheeled together. This year, in July, when we spoke last October, Stetz was beginning to lay plans for a trip to Poland for much the same, ending a two-week motorcycle journey at a big truck show that happens there annually.Stetz is the founder of the Polska Jazda (which he translates to “Polish Ride”) motorcycle and big-rig enthusiasts group — he showed at 10-4 parked directly behind another member of that group, Robert Budzik, whose custom Kenworth T2000 readers got a closer look at a couple weeks back here. Two-three times a year, Stetz says, the group gets together in Georgia, Tennessee, the Carolinas or other locale to ride two-wheeled together. This year, in July, when we spoke last October, Stetz was beginning to lay plans for a trip to Poland for much the same, ending a two-week motorcycle journey at a big truck show that happens there annually. Stetz and company haul mostly produce from Florida to Chicago and other commodities back toward Florida, he says. The “best truck,” he says, is one that’s “paid off.” When he bought this unit, he financed it on a five-year term, long since completed.Stetz and company haul mostly produce from Florida to Chicago and other commodities back toward Florida, he says. The “best truck,” he says,  is one that’s “paid off.” When he bought this unit, he financed it on a five-year term, long since completed. Detail of the back-of-cab muraling.Detail of the back-of-cab muraling. An interesting approach to paint preservation is well evident on the hood and fenders, where a textured carbon-fiber wrap covers the rig’s surface.An interesting approach to paint preservation is well evident on the hood and fenders, where a textured carbon-fiber wrap covers the rig’s surface.

Jerry Stetz Trucking Driver Door 2019 01 24 12 00

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