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Trucker hauls message as essential as her freight (with video)

Shelley Uvanile-Hesch hopes people will think twice about leaving home during the COVID-19 pandemic after seeing her trailer as she moves vital goods between Canada and the United States.

Shelley Uvanile-Hesch, a long-haul trucker and CEO of the Women's Trucking Federation of Canada, will haul a trailer with a message encouraging social distancing. (Image: Kimberly Biback/Sharp Transportation)

Shelley Uvanile-Hesch hauls a trailer with the message “Stay Home. Save Lives.” (Video: Kimberly Biback/Sharp Transportation Systems)

Canadian truck driver Shelley Uvanile-Hesch has a message for anyone who thinks social distancing measures shouldn’t apply to them during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s printed on her trailer in giant letters:

“Stay home. Save Lives.”

“There’s a lot of traffic on the road that shouldn’t be on the road,” Uvanile-Hesch told FreightWaves. “What are you people thinking?”

Uvanile-Hesch, a driver for Sharp Transportation Systems, will begin hauling that message across Canada and the United States on Tuesday. The 53-foot trailer wrap will be hard to miss: Apart from the message, it features photos of medical personnel wearing face masks and the hashtag “#FlattenTheCurve.”

The idea is simple: Encourage people to embrace social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.

It also marks Uvanile-Hesch’s return to long-haul trucking after her husband and driving partner, Chris Hesch, died in a workplace accident in August. The pandemic and the need for trucks to keep moving essential freight made her decide it was time to get back on the road.


“I’m looking forward to getting back on the road,” Uvanile-Hesch told FreightWaves. “Everyone is trying to do their part. This is my part.”

Uvanile-Hesch drives her tractor-trailer in Ontario, Canada. (Image: Kimberly Biback/Sharp Transportation)

That extends to the freight, too. Uvanile-Hesch’s first load is hand sanitizer from Ontario to British Columbia. From there, she expects to take another load into the U.S before securing a backhaul to Canada as part of the cross-border movement of essential goods.

“We were looking for ways to give back. What better way than a moving, 53-foot billboard?”

— Angela Baltkois, CEO of Big Rig Wraps

An organization Uvanile-Hesch founded and leads, the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada, sponsored the advertising wrap with Armour Insurance. The ad itself came from a Canadian executive facing a severe disruption because of COVID-19.

“We were looking for ways to give back. What better way than a moving, 53-foot billboard?” said Angela Baltkois, CEO of Big Rig Wraps, a company that places advertising on commercial vehicles.

Sharp donated three trailers for the “Stay Home” message. Baltkois hopes other fleets in Canada and the U.S. join the campaign.

Beyond the public health message, Baltkois said she wanted to show the key role trucking plays.

“I wanted to help elevate the trucking industry,” Baltkois said. “It wasn’t for truckers, front-line health workers wouldn’t get supplies.”

Uvanile-Hesch also plans to use the trip to showcase some of the conditions truck drivers face during the pandemic, including closed or dirty bathroom facilities and few places to eat.

“Hopefully this will bring attention to the plight of drivers on the road so that something changes,” Uvanile-Hesch said.

How you can help: Big Rig Wraps is seeking sponsors for the “Stay Home. Save Lives” wraps, and U.S. and Canadian fleets willing to place them on trailers. For more information, contact Angela Baltkois at [email protected].

26 Comments

  1. Noble1

    For you chart reading enthusiasts(analysts) who are well read in sophisticated chart reading “principles”(wink) , there is one particular chart I would like to bring to your attention on COVID-19 total cases in a province in Canada . Prince Edward Island . It jumped out to me very clearly for I recognized it within the wink of an eye once I saw it .

    They appear to have only 25 cases up to date . If you go to Canada DOT ca on Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update , you’ll arrive at a page where you can hover across the country’s map with your mouse .

    Once you arrive over Price Edward Island’s COVID-19 Cases chart , look at that crystal clear pattern !

    Notice the very clear pauses within the pattern as I referred to could occur in a prior comment of mine in regards to the curve .

    Now isn’t that interesting ? It sure is !

    This definitely points out that there is a natural structure to what may appear to many as random and chaotic , even in COVID-19 infected cases !

    In my humble opinion …………..

    ……

  2. Noble1

    Here’s an interesting point . Nursing homes . Recently staff attending to elderly needs at some nursing homes DECIDED TO STAY AT HOME as the sign on the trailer in the article above suggests people should do to save lives .

    Unfortunately when those employees made that decision nobody was left in the nursing homes to attend to elderly needs and a lot of elderly patients died ! So did “staying at home” save lives ? Those elderly ones stayed home and died !

    Some doctors didn’t stay at home and decided to attend to patients infected with COVID-19 and they died ! Should those doctors have stayed home as the sign on the truck suggests in order to save their lives ???

    Now you’re going to tell me it comes down to context . No it comes down to being “vigilant” . Because if people were to abide by the “stay at home and save lives ” demand literally , then we would all be in one heck of a pickle ! You wouldn’t even have a freaking loaded trailer to transport !

    Now if the sign on the truck would have suggested to respectfully keep a reasonable social distance from one another during this pandemic as well as to be vigilant during our day to day interactions with one another THEN it would have made a little more sense in the current context concerning a pandemic ! Short term pain for long term gain !

    So while attempting to preach to others , perhaps one should think a little before doing so .

    In conclusion , this whole COVID-19 pandemic affair has become one due to tremendous mismanagement ! This is something that the people cannot deny . Our governments were not prepared and have made grave(no pun intended) mistakes !

    While I like governor Cuomo’s reasoning to a certain point , he preaches being smart about this reopening . Why weren’t they smart when COVID-19 showed its ugly head ? Because they underestimated it ! However, Wuhan was showing the world that it was gravely getting out of hand . Then eventually Trump shut down the Asian border , but not Europe’s ???

    If there is one single thing that we should all learn from this , it’s how unreasonable and irresponsible our governments have been .They were warned and neglected the warning ! That’s the reason why a viral outbreak became a worldwide pandemic . They were ill prepared and negligent which allowed it to get out of hand , period ! This is a fact we cannot deny . However, there is no point in crying over spilled milk .

    Now we need to have a reasonable plan and be extremely clever . That being said , based on what I have observed so far I see a second wave being inevitable .

    There are over 300 million people in the USA . On those 300 million people approximately only 2.2 million tests were done to date . On those 2.2 million tests half a million cases were reported . On those half a million cases reported , 22 thousand deaths have occurred .

    2.2 million tests on a population of over 300 million and they are reporting that they’ve reached the peak ??? I beg to differ . I believe they more likely reached a “pause” in the curve , not the peak . Time will tell . Meanwhile we still have a tremendous amount of road border crossings . The virus couldn’t careless if you’re crossing the border to service essentials and or servicing the essential sector and its industries !

    In fact we’ve seen an alarming rate of infected people in the essential sector within its industries .

    WAKE UP !

    As history has taught us , social distancing does and will work to a certain point . Staying at home on the other hand does not necessarily save lives . Staying at home “completely” can “mitigate” becoming infected and transmission but not entirely unless you live in a bunker and have absolutely no physical contact with the outside population and their goods for the duration of the viral outbreak , or knowing how to immunize yourself from being infected .

    Having a smart plan and being vigilant in its execution is the key ! So now let’s see .

    Just observe and learn while you yourselves remain very smart about this whole ordeal .

    In my humble opinion …………….

  3. DJ

    70% of all goods transported in this country are moved by commercial vehicles. Your not going to shut down cross border traffic without an act of Congress. Another point, if everyone understands the message on the truck, why didn’t all state governors act on it?
    Governor Cuomo announced today that the curve is flattening for us New Yorkers but we still need to stay the course as he says. Social distancing and staying at home must still be followed. I understand that New York City has a high concentration of people, however, it spread across the country anyway. I just hope that when this is all over, the support from the trucking industry won’t be forgotten.

    1. Devon Turnbull

      Truth the truth is this was set up by the Ontario Government for us to take this msg across Canada . I don’t get the negativity towards this . The message is that of course everyone should stay home . BUT there is the essential workers such as the Nurses on the side of the trailer and the driver carrying the hand Sanitizer that no one can find in stores right now . This was set out to be a positive trip . Having you folks tear this apart is just a sign of the negativity in the world .

      1. Noble1

        THE TRUTH ???

        The truth of the matter is that governments screwed up big time and due to their mismanagement of a little tiny virus , they allowed it to take over the freaking world and caused enormous hardship on the people and economies in the process ! That’s the truth of the matter !

        By the way , aside from hospitalizations , the freaking curve can be manipulated ! Test less and the “reported” infected cases diminish !

        What’s that problem you keep hearing about ??? LACK OF TESTING ! What are they telling us about the freaking curve ??? It’s flattening ! Then what did Asia do based on their flattening of the curve ? Reopened . Then what happened ? Resurgence of the curve(second wave) ! WHY ? Because they aren’t VIGILANT !

        In my humble opinion …………..

        1. Noble1

          Furthermore ,

          Let’s stand back a little and analyze this objectively . Certain governments are stating to stay at home . Why ? What does that mean ? From my perspective it means we’re in a crisis that is out of control . The government has lost control ! They don’t know how to respond !

          Due to this loss of control they’re asking the public to stay at home because it saves lives . LOL Ok . But then they turn around and say that those who cater to essentials are preempted . WHAT ?

          So we’re told to stay at home to save lives due to a loss of control in a crisis based on a viral pandemic that can lead to a loss of life . Fine .

          But while we clearly know that governments have clearly lost control due to their lack of vigilance , they’re putting essential workers in harms way while they can’t control this life threatening pandemic crisis !

          Hold on . So something is a freaking miss here . While essentials are vital for our survival , they’re mismanaging that sector and industries within it as well . Those essential workers are being asked to put themselves at a great risk . So they’re being told to go and put themselves in the lions mouth because we need the essential services to keep functioning for our survival while putting their survival at risk ???

          WE have doctors and nurses , aka experts in the medical field , that got infected and DIED ! Then we have essential workers in the food supply chain that are getting infected in droves and food plants are being shut down !

          This lack of wisdom is putting a huge strain on our food supply chains . Essential workers are getting infected galore and essential food plants are shutting down galore !

          If this continues at this pace it will lead to a tremendous lack of essential food supplies . Prices will sky rocket and put a further economic burden on consumers while consumers are already economically being squeezed .

          Now if I were to give the benefit of a doubt , I can certainly understand asking people to stay at home once the supposed shock from a pandemic hits due to being surprised by a crisis . You stop everything to take a little time to analyze and figure out what is happening . Then you create a plan to confront it .

          However , this is not what governments have done . They have negligently put essential workers in harms way . However, there are certain essential businesses that have taken the matter in their own hands and have managed to protect their employees quite well and have had ZERO infected cases in the process !

          So this proves that their already exists a model that works ! Why isn’t such a model being used as an example and forced through “safety” measures upon essential manufacturing plants that don’t have one ???

          This sort of mismanagement keeps us stuck in a chaotic unsafe CRISIS !

          So government should stop telling people to stay at home due to government incompetence and they should RESIGN ! Get people to be put in charge who can manage this thing . Stop putting people in harms way ! Don’t reopen any part of the economy until this is done ! Health first , economy after !

          If we were to all stop and stay home due to FEAR of the current lack of safety , this world would stop turning really fast ! Is that what it will take for government to wake up ?

          Labour unions are also starting to wake up . We as a people are being indirectly told that our governments CANNOT be relied upon to manage this crisis ! They screwed up and they continue to screw up !

          Farmers are dumping food ! Essential workers in the food supply chain are getting infected and food plants are being shut down ! Doctors & nurses(educated essential workers) are getting infected and DYING ! WTF are governments doing ???

          There are an enormous amount of infected people that haven’t been tested ! We were told to isolate for 14 days if infected . Apparently 14 days isn’t enough ! Apparently anyone can be a carrier without knowing . So how do you find out ? YOU TEST ! What do you mean there are a lack of tests ?

          If this were a world war , I bet you we wouldn’t lack bullets ! So a lack of tests isn’t an excuse , it’s management incompetence during a crisis !

          Government shut down many unessential manufacturing plants . CONVERT THEM during this crisis to provide us with what we need to get out of this freaking crisis !

          Here’s a thought , perhaps government should stay at home and the people should find competent replacements !

          We need more people in government like people such as that New York governor . At least he has a reasonable plan ! IMPROVE IT AND FUND IT !

          In my humble opinion ………..

  4. Kimberly

    Reading the comments, I don’t believe I have ever seen such a large group of uneducated people in one space at the same time. Thank you Ron for spelling out the logic, however, you can’t put brains in a rock.
    Trucks carry a million things people need including groceries and in this Carrier’s case, pharmaceuticals. Perhaps the people making the ascinine comments should go without these essentials so they can understand exactly how ascinine their comments are. Sadly, I think they would starve to death and still not learn. Unfortunately these are the same people saying COVID is a government conspiracy theory and going out and partying, which is why they are upset with the “preaching”. Shaking my head.

    RESPECT FOR TRUCKERS

    1. Noble1

      Quote: “you can’t put brains in a rock”
      LOL ! Exactly

      Putting a stay at home sign on a trailer is stupid ,hypocrisy , a waste of money , and doesn’t work as far as crowd control is concerned ! Just like having a sticker on your bumper that states ” if you can read this then you’re too close” . It won’t “make” people back off .

      What will work if certain people don’t abide by certain imposed measures is to impose hefty fines etc . for non compliance . We’ve experienced success and reduced non compliance tremendously with such measures .

      Having respect for truckers has nothing to do with agreeing or not with a silly sign on their trailer . Respect begets respect . YOU do your job , and it doesn’t include telling others what to do .

      In my humble opinion ……..

  5. Noble1

    But let’s just go one little step further . If “people didn’t circulate” for their essential needs , then they wouldn’t see the sign on the truck . If they are circulating for essential needs , then it contradicts the purpose for the sign stating to stay home on the trailer .

    If people didn’t circulate to purchase their essential needs , then truckers transporting essential goods wouldn’t be rolling down the roads with silly signs telling people to stay home because people wouldn’t see those silly signs .

    This is freaking hilarious !

    Truckers should simply concentrate on driving and doing their jobs safely , not preaching . Let the government do their jobs and truckers should do theirs .

    In my humble opinion ……………

  6. Noble1

    The irony is she’s doing the opposite of what she’s preaching !

    Granted that she’s in an essential service ,but she could at least remain “home” by remaining in her “country” while providing her essential transport service rather than cross the border !

    There are multiple ways of having freight transported across borders aside from doing it by truck/road ! Thereby reducing potential human to human cross border COVID-19 contamination ! Especially now since the USA is the epicenter !!!

    It’s a little like if she was preaching to use less fuel while she’s using a tremendous amount of fuel ! HELLOOOOO !

    Then she says , quote:
    “There’s a lot of traffic on the road that shouldn’t be on the road,” Uvanile-Hesch told FreightWaves. “What are you people thinking?”

    I was thinking the same about truckers crossing the border back and forth during this pandemic ,
    ” WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ” ???

    Apparently some are not “thinking” but they’re ignorantly preaching to the world to walk their talk while they do not ! Ya should become politicians if you’re going to act like hypocrites !

    Too funny , LOL !

    In my humble opinion …………

    1. Noble1

      Perhaps she missed this article . Quote:

      “27 CBP employees in border communities test positive for coronavirus
      A total of 160 U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees have tested positive across the country.”

      But then again , one didn’t need an article to know that this was highly likely to occur DURING A PANDEMIC !

      If you play with fire you’re likely to get burnt ! Mitigate some of the risk by at least staying on your side of the border during this pandemic !

      keep on preachin’ , LOL !

      In my humble opinion …………..

    2. Ron McCallum

      How else would you propose to get essential goods from one country to another? These supplies need to get across the border and the most efficient way of doing so is by truck. One person!! Only one person in 90% of trucks!! Trains and planes all need multiple people to get goods from a to b!!

      1. Noble1

        By Rail , to rail yards . By Aircraft to airports . By sea to ports . Then from those drop & pick up points trucks pick it up and transport it within their countries to delivery points and vice versa .

        It’s a preventive measure which would be a lot safer during a short period during a pandemic .

        In my humble opinion ………………

        1. Noble1

          quote:

          Truckers warn supply chain in jeopardy if they don’t get better COVID-19 protection

          ““HELP — MAYDAY — 9-1-1,” are the words in all caps across the top of a letter the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association sent to President Donald Trump on Friday.
          “Urgent and immediate action is demanded to safeguard our nation’s supply chain,” said the letter, signed by Todd Spencer, president and CEO of the Grain Valley-based organization.

          Truckers are exposed to COVID-19 because of the critical service they provide, Spencer said.

          “They run in and out of the hot zones and without question they are exposed,” he said. ”
          They don’t have access to PPE or any practical means to know when they may be falling ill or any practical solution if they need treatment or self-isolation.”

          These are unprecedented times in the freight industry, a Teamsters official said in an update to members last week.

          “Unfortunately, it appears that things are going to get worse before they get better,” said Teamsters National Freight Division Director Ernie Soehl. “We have seen a few terminals this week where an employee tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.”
          At one terminal, Soehl said, a lower-level supervisor tested positive and the terminal was temporarily shut down while it was disinfected.

          “There are, however, approximately 18 members and six non-bargaining unit employees who had been in contact with that supervisor, and they have now been placed on a mandatory 14-day quarantine,” he said. “That terminal has since reopened. At another location with a different company, the terminal was also temporarily closed, disinfected and affected employees similarly placed into quarantine status.”

          End quote .

          Now let’s just recap a few lines that Todd Spencer expressed .

          Quote:

          “Truckers are exposed to COVID-19 because of the critical service they provide, Spencer said.

          “They run in and out of the hot zones and without question they are exposed,” he said. ”
          They don’t have access to PPE or any practical means to know when they may be falling ill or any practical solution if they need treatment or self-isolation.””

          End quote .

          That pretty much speaks LOUDLY for itself ! Truckers are running in and out of HOT ZONES pretty much exposing themselves without PPE !

          And we’re ” allowing ” them to cross borders from one country to another ??? HELL’OOOO !!!!

          I rest my case .

          Stay on your sides of the border and don’t cross contaminate !

          In my humble opinion …………..

    3. Noble1

      Requote a statement of mine near the end in a prior comment above :
      “Ya should become politicians if you’re going to act like hypocrites !”

      How fitting !

      SPEAKING OF POLITICS & HYPOCRISY ,

      QUOTE:

      Government’s COVID-19 rules don’t seem to apply to Andrew Scheer and Justin Trudeau

      Google it , LOL !

      “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also travelled over the weekend, heading to Harrington Lake, which is about 25 kilometres from his home, Rideau Cottage, in Ottawa.”

      WOW ! Wait , his wife posted pictures !!! Too funny , LOL !

      Google this : Canadians furious as Trudeau breaks his own coronavirus travel rules

      Told you ! Observe , 2020 is quite revealing .

      In my humble opinion ……….

Comments are closed.

Nate Tabak

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist and producer who covers cybersecurity and cross-border trucking and logistics for FreightWaves. He spent seven years reporting stories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe as a reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied the history of American policing. Contact Nate at [email protected]