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Veteran's Day is right around the corner. Started unofficially in 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson, the national holiday was a way to honor those who fought and died while protecting the freedom and mission of the United States of America. Today, Veteran's Day (celebrated every 11th of November) is celebratedby giving away free gifts and services to those who served in a branch of the Armed Forces. And, now, carwashes across the globe are joining in the revelry.
This year, Veteran's Day falls on a Monday. As Veterans set about their Monday mornings, they are more than likely to see American flags waving, poppy flowers on display on lapels and collars, and, if Grace For Vets has anything to do with it, they will probably also see signs for free carwashes. Now, in its ninth year, Grace For Vets, a program that bands together carwashes to give away free washes to veterans, currently has 2,033 carwashes signed up (as of Sept. 30), representing 849 companies and four countries, including New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the good 'ol U S of A.
The program started back in 2004 when Mike Mountz, CEO of Cloister Carwash & Lube, and a U.S. service veteran, set out to thank and honor the men and women who served or were currently serving in a branch of the United States military. Each year, the program grows and more and more carwashes are given away. Last year,according to Sharon Ramp, the program’s director of marketing, over 1,800 washes participated and hundreds of thousands of cars were washed for free. It was a record-breaking year, and this year, the numbers will be even greater.
Around 100 carwashes are participating overseas. Why are they taking part in a holiday that honors United States citizens? The answer is: Mike Mountz.
According to Ramp, the Australian Car Wash Association is a great supporter of the program. Members rallied around the cause after founder Mountz spoke about it at their annual convention in 2011. Ramp said in an interview last year, “They really believe in honoring those that have given so much and as many feel, they feel it’s a small gesture on their part to say thanks.”
The following are tips to use if you want to give away free washes, courtesy of Grace For Vets.
Make sure it is known that veterans do NOT have to show ID or any kind of proof to get the free wash. According to the Grace For Vets team, “this may lead to some abuse, but we believe that the program must be based on one of the guiding principles for a veteran, which is ‘honor.’ We are asking you to honor our request to keep count of your veteran and total washes. Please come back to this site (www.graceforvets.org) to report activity.”