Carwash locations participating in this year’s Grace for Vets program are expected to nearly double 2009 figures, with 1,301 locations registered to provide free carwashes to military veterans and active service personnel on Thursday. Last year, 655 carwashes took part in the annual Veterans Day celebration.
As of today, 541 companies had registered with Grace for Vets, which more than doubles last year’s company participation.
Carwash facilities in all 50 states will participate in Grace for Vets for the first time in the program’s six-year history, giving organizers confidence they will reach their goal of providing 100,000 free carwashes during the nationwide event.
Carwashes in Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, North Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming will participate in Grace for Vets for the first time.
“We feel the 100,000 free vet wash goal is very attainable if the weather cooperates and everyone reports results,” said Bob Ruhe, the campaign’s project manager.
Organizers launched a strong grassroots program this year, gathering support from carwash suppliers and industry associations which encouraged customers and members to participate in the promotion.
The Rocky Mountain Car Wash Association was among the organizations that trumpeted the cause and will have 14 RMCA members participating.
“The RMCA is proud to honor all current and former members of the military, and therefore, has pledged to participate in the nationwide Grace for Vets program,” officials said in a press release.
Seattle-based Brown Bear Car Wash is among several prominent carwash chains that will join the celebration. Brown Bear will have 20 carwashes in Washington participate.
“Our organization is proud to honor veterans and service personnel,” said Vic Odermat, Brown Bear president and a veteran of the Marines Corps. “While the washes are free, we know that freedom is not. This is a way for us to show our support and gives us a unique opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to people who sacrifice for our freedom.”
Brown Bear has pledged to extend its free carwashes to anyone who has a spouse currently deployed in the military.
Quick Quack Car Wash, a chain of 13 express exterior carwashes in California, Colorado and Texas, also will participate.
“Quick Quack Car Wash believes that it is important to remember those who have served our country and we are proud to join in this effort by professional carwashes across the country,” said Jason Johnson, Quick Quack president and CEO.
In order to receive a free wash at a carwash participating in Grace for Vets, veterans only have to verbally tell a carwash attendant that they are a retired veteran or active in the armed forces. No proof is required because program officials want the event to run under one of the military’s guiding principles — honor.