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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].


  1. Noble1

    Here’s a little more misinterpreted negativity for you .

    I predicted that if governments dragged their feet and forced lockdowns it could potentially lead to protests and riots .

    Well would you look at that . What is occurring now in some states ? PROTESTS !

    The last thing we freaking need now is for people to start gathering and protesting which will highly likely lead to massive viral transmission !

    We need to be extremely transparent and have people understand the importance of vigilance through social distancing . NOT LOCKING THEM DOWN ! WE need to reorganize how we function . Test , trace , and protect them and have them understand a clear strategic plan that will be in their benefit and for their welfare . If we can manage to do this then people can at least go back to work at a slower pace . Otherwise the pressure is going to grow and burst out of control ! They are becoming restless . Then we’ll have a crisis upon a crisis .


    People don’t want to be TOLD to lockdown & isolate ! They view it as their freedom being stripped away from them . I wouldn’t drive a truck advocating such due to fear that rocks can be thrown at me or worse .

    Be vigilant ! Advocate being “vigilant” and walk your talk . Be wise .

    In my humble opinion ……….

      1. Noble1

        No “I” didn’t win , but “we” did . I simply persisted in my attempt at getting my point across and you finally understood due to having an open mind . Therefore “we” both won .

  2. Devon Turnbull

    I think Nobel 1 is at home in a non essential situation and has nothing but time to be negative towards everything . It wouldn’t matter if it was Water . or a Vaccine . Just one of those people with an Opinion . We will do what we are doing with our work to get the message across to everyone that if you have the means and ability to stay home do so because some of us don,t . And Nobel next time you go to the grocery store to grab Food , toilet paper and even hand sanitizer just remember who brought it there .

    1. Noble1

      Quote Devon Turnbull :
      ” I think ”

      I beg to differ . If you thought then you would stop with the “you’re the center of the universe mentality” and realize that truckers are simply a link in a chain of events , no more and no less .

      Quote Devon Turnbull again :

      “And Nobel next time you go to the grocery store to grab Food , toilet paper and even hand sanitizer just remember who brought it there .”

      Case and point . I’m also reminded about the one’s who produce it as well . The farmer, the food processor, the packaging plant , the shelf stocker , everyone else involved ! Everyone plays a vital part in the chain , EVERYONE ! So stop being so selfish and trying to use your self exaggerated importance in your poor attempt to bash my disagreement with the freaking silly trailer wrap .

      By the way the truck driver hauling the trailer with the wrap that states staying at home saves lives is from Canada . The Canadian prime minister traveled for “personal” reasons that were not essential !

      Secondly , there are certain areas in Canada that are slowly reopening their economy UNESSENTIAL businesses .

      Third, we don’t “have to” stay at home . It is recommended if we desire to do so . We are free to walk around aside from essential circulating . If I go for a drive and drive around , I’m also catering to fuel demand which also contributes to truck drivers that haul the damn stuff , the oil producers , the refiners , and the businesses that sell it at the pump ! I as a consumer am the reason you have a freakin’ job ! Never forget that ! If our collective consumer demand decreases you’ll see how quickly that reality will hit you in the wallet .

      last but not least , What our governments are asking us to do is not to gather ourselves into groups and too keep a social distance ! Nowhere are they saying that we “must stay” at home ! But that wrap is advocating that staying at home saves lives , ROTFLMAO ! I repeat , being vigilant saves lives .

      You started your comment with “I think” , perhaps you should walk your talk .

      Stay safe , BE VIGILANT !

      In my humble opinion ………

  3. DJ

    I understand. Thanks. This is definitely a tough situation. I worry about our drivers but we’ve given them all the PPE stuff we can
    to keep them safe. We haul raw materials into food warehouses so we have to keep operating. When you travel the NYS Thruway and you see how the traffic is less, it’s pretty scary. Even the toll booth collectors are home. Looking back at that truck now, your right. I don’t have stuff like that on our trailers. It’s not our place to spread personal opinions anyway, even if they are misguided. We just deliver the freight and do the best we can to get it there safely and on time. I want our drivers to be proud of our logo because you can be rest assured I’m proud of them and a logo is all that should be on the trailer. Be Safe Noble1. Maybe I’ll see you in a future post.

    1. Noble1

      You have a good governor in New York with a head on his shoulders in my opinion . We’re all going to be fine if we remain vigilant .

      Thanks buddy . You too , be vigilant and stay safe . Thanks for taking care of your drivers . Thanks for your services , they’re greatly appreciated .

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].