CHARLESTON, W.Va. — There are few sights more welcome to those broken down on a lonely West Virginia highway than the white pickup truck with the yellow flashing lights. The Courtesy Patrol marked 15 years in operation recently.
“We get letters from mothers of teenage daughters and sons going back to college and broken down and they’re thankful we were there to help them,” executive director Jennifer Douglas said on MetroNews Talkline Monday.
The Courtesy Patrol serves a variety of different situations, especially on holidays when traffic on the state’s main arteries becomes heavy. They may be giving a ride to a motorist whose car broke down or offering some gas to get them to the next station. Whatever the situation, Douglas said the patrols have become a huge positive for the state.
“They are great ambassadors for the state of West Virginia,” Douglas said. “They promote our state in such a great way.”
The patrols have 25 trucks running two shifts. Originally the patrol was a non-stop 24/7 365-day operation. Today they still run 365 days a year, but are scaled back to 16 hours operating from 3 p.m. to 7 a.m.
“When we first started I could not imagine or envision just how many people break down and truly need our services,” she said.
The patrol has not only been a huge benefit to motorists, but it’s given jobs to more than 2,000 people across the state. Each driver patrols 30 to 35 miles of highway on each shift. The highways include all interstates in West Virginia plus the corridors and four-lane U.S. routes.
To contact the Courtesy Patrol call 888-359-3683 or *SP on your cell phone or simply by dialing 911.