By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily
A Casper woman is urging Wyoming residents to donate homemade baked goods, breads and handmade cards in a show of support for a nationwide truck convoy expected to pass through the state later this month and again in early March.
Laura Redmond, a photographer and mother of five, is working to drum up support for “The People’s Convoy,” a group of people from across the country who plan to drive to Washington, D.C., to call for an end to the Emergency Powers Act that allowed the federal government to impose various mandates related to COVID-19.
The People’s Convoy is a self-described grassroots campaign involving truckers and people of all professions aimed at converging on Washington, D.C. to seek an end to coronavirus restrictions and mandates.
The routes and meeting time in Washington, D.C. are still being worked out, according to the posts on the convoy’s Facebook page, but at least two routes will take participants through Wyoming.
One of the group’s co-founders, Brian Brase, told Heather Childers on NewsMax Monday evening that his group will be setting off from the Barstow, California, area on Wednesday, Feb. 23 and head to Washington, D.C., on a route that will take travelers through southern Wyoming on Interstate 80.
A second group leaving from Spokane, Washington, on March 2 and following Interstate 90 is scheduled to stop at the Flying J truck stop in Gillette around 1 p.m. on March 3.
Redmond and her children plan to meet the drivers with care packages in hand.
Until then, she’s in the process of mobilizing groups and individuals throughout the state on her “Freedom Convoy – Wyoming Group” Facebook page to organize the preparation and delivery of other care packages for the drivers.
For Redmond, the message is simple. She wants to show her thanks and support for truckers and other frontline workers and volunteers who “hold the line for our freedom” and support their right to choose whether they are vaccinated against coronavirus.
Redmond said she’s been watching developments in Canada, where truckers have formed blockades to stop travel on some highways in protest of the country’s requirement for truckers traveling between the U.S. and Canada to be vaccinated.
Redmond said she watched with tears in her eyes when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked martial law Tuesday in attempt to break up the protests.
In the U.S., people haven’t experienced the severe COVID-19 lockdowns and mandates adopted in Canada for the last two years, she said, so they can’t know what it must feel like for those left isolated by the restrictions to come together as a group after all these months.
Some drivers are embracing their countrymen for the first time in months, while some are still living with mask and vaccine mandates, including a requirement for vaccine passports for truckers crossing into the U.S., the mandate which first prompted the convoy.
Redmond said she appreciates the show of unity and support for the convoy among Canadians and wants to mirror that unity in the U.S. by supporting the truckers as they pass through the state.
“I want to spread a message of peace and love,” she said.
Redmond is tired of the divisiveness in the country, she added, and wants to step up to do something about it with this simple message of support and solidarity for truckers, including her husband, a FedEx driver who will not be participating in the convoy.
Truckers, she said, don’t receive the level of respect they deserve.
“They (truckers) are considered the scum of the food chain, and they should be at the top,” she said. “We just want to show that we care and love them and appreciate everything they’ve done like keeping food on the shelves and delivering packages to our door. Everything you buy in this state came from a trucker.”
Giving out care packages of homemade baked goods and handmade cards felt like a more personal show of support than handing out money, gift cards or hanging signs along the interstates, she said.
The truckers, as she knows firsthand, don’t have easy access to homemade goods while out on the road, so she thought it would be appreciated.
“It’s not a protest. It’s coming together to show our support for one another and do we can to help,” she said.
This is a message she said she’s instilled in children, joking that they tell her they’ve inherited her “give” bone.
Redmond is active in volunteering for a number of causes, she said, and her children have taken note. Her boys, for example, automatically know to shovel snow for their elderly neighbors without accepting any money for their efforts. They are already making out cards for the truckers.
Her message mirrored that delivered by Brase, who welcomed all citizens to join the convoy.
“It’s called the People’s Convoy for a reason,” Brase said. “It’s not just truckers. We’re just the ones standing up, but we want everybody involved. This is not an aisle issue. This isn’t right. This isn’t a left-wing thing. And no matter how much they try to paint it that way. I think it’ll be pretty clear just walking around our convoy that you will see all walks of life are involved in this and all Americans are welcome.”
The Wyoming Trucking Association, meanwhile, is remaining neutral about the convoy.
Sheila Foertsch, managing director of the Wyoming Trucking Association, said the association does not have an opinion on the convoy one way or the other, because it doesn’t directly impact Wyoming truckers.
“Everyone has a right to do what they want to do,” she said. “There’s really no reason to be protesting in the U.S. because we took it (vaccine mandates for businesses with more than 100 employees) to the Supreme Court and won.”
Any groups or individuals wishing to participate in Redmond’s efforts by baking or delivering goods to drivers are asked to reach out to her on her Facebook page.