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Northern Lights recipient – Sheila Willis

On August 31, she was recognized for modifying her heritage and travel app to help truck drivers and couriers find amenities during COVID.

Portrait of Sheila Willis

Location: Smith, Alberta

In 2015, historian Sheila Willis of Smith started developing the History Check Mobile App, a heritage and travel companion app, to promote tourism in Northern Alberta. By June 2019, the app was expanded to cover all of Alberta. The app provides information on historical, cultural and recreational points of interest, among other things, for hundreds of geographical areas in the province.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sheila realized that truck drivers and couriers were having trouble finding places to stop so they could eat and use the restroom. She quickly adapted the scope of the app to address this problem and started including listings for open washrooms, food services and facilities. She has worked countless hours updating the app so that drivers can find reliable amenities. Sheila’s nominator writes: “The impact this has had on the truckers is not measurable. Sheila saw a need and with little thought to the work it entailed, she made it happen.”

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