The Vehicle Support Team is not a separate team on the Walk, but rather several participants who have taken on the important task of running our support vehicles (which are vital to the success of the Migrant Trail). We ask you to take a moment to familiarize yourself with the support vehicle protocols.
The Migrant Trail Walk is accompanied by three or more vehicles that provide support to the other teams and walkers. The trucks of the Vehicle Support Team (VST) carry water, equipment and supplies, and provide pickup and transport of walkers as needed. The Vehicle Support Team leader maintains radio contact with the walking group and with the other vehicles, to coordinate movements and response to changing conditions.
The Support Vehicles leap-frog the walking group each day, stopping to set up water or food/rest stops every mile and a half. Walkers approaching Support Vehicles must keep to the right of the vehicles at all times – traffic cones will define a safe path into the rest areas.
VST vehicles will be radioed for pickup of injured or fatigued walkers. When a support vehicle pulls up next to a walker for pickup, the walker is required to promptly board the vehicle. Delays in accomplishing walker pickups are hazardous for the walkers, the support vehicle and driver, and other traffic, and must be avoided.
Vehicle drivers are members of the Vehicle Support Team and also participate as members of the Logistics and Food Teams [and occasionally Health, Environmental and Safety]. A few members of the Food, Environmental and Logistics teams get on the Support Vehicles at the end of most stops, to ride to the next stop and set up shade, food and facilities for the walkers.
The Vehicle Support Team operates the following vehicles:
- Pilot vehicle [red F-150; Tom] towing the utility trailer [utility trailer carries a black Enviro box at front; flat deck in center for Logistics; silver Medical box and 8 water jugs at rear]
- 12-passenger van [silver F-350; Mike]: sag wagon towing the food trailer
- 15-passenger van: towing the gear trailer to the next campsite early in the day, then functioning without the trailer as the courier [pickup] vehicle
- Yellow Dodge: additional courier and sag-wagon
- Later in the week, the following vehicles join the Vehicle Support Team:
- Honey Wagon: [Pickup truck towing the Port-A-Let trailer]
For safety reasons, no other vehicles are allowed to join the Vehicle Support train, unless by specific permission and under the direction of the Vehicle Support Team leader. The support vehicle train is limited to vehicles and drivers accepted to the train for that day, and each driver is responsible to coordinate their vehicle’s movements and placement with the support team leader. Visiting friends or family members must keep their vehicles away from the Walk and the stops – vehicles showing up unannounced create additional safety concerns for the support team. Press vehicles are also under the direction of the Vehicle Support Team leader, when they are in the vicinity of the walkers or Vehicle Support train.
- Vehicle support team members are responsible for maintenance and distribution of radios, as well as for oversight of loading and rigging, and maintenance and safe operation of their vehicles.
- Logistics and other walkers should not approach vehicles or trailers to load or unload them until the vehicle is at a full stop, and the driver has shut down the vehicle and signaled it is ready for approach.
- The Vehicle Support Team leader is responsible to maintain radio contact with other vehicles and with the walking group as possible. Individual drivers should communicate through the VST leader whenever possible [that is, unless the individual driver has radio contact with another vehicle or the walker group when the VST leader does not], and keep their radios with them at all times to respond to calls.
- VST drivers will ask for assistance in clearing the area around their vehicles when moving them, especially when backing up around other vehicles or walkers.
- Two exceptions from general MTW protocols are made for VST drivers:
- Drivers must keep their driver’s licenses [& any other required legal documents] with them
- Drivers do not take nighttime safety shifts, because they need to be fully alert while driving during the day