This is a remarkable year for our calendar. It contains some unusual dates; 1/1/11, 1/11/11, 11/1/11 and 11/11/11. This won’t happen like this again for 11 years beginning with 2/2/22. The last of the 4 unusual dates this year is especially interesting. On November 11, 2011, more free car washes will be given across this country than any other day of the year. And the unusual part about that is that the owners of these washes will feel good about it. The day will be full of smiles and handshakes and words of thanks.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am talking about Grace for Vets, the organization that has mustered hundreds of car washes across the US in all 50 states to provide free car washes to our veterans on Veterans Day. Grace for Vets was founded in 1998 by a single car wash operator. Since then the program has expanded to 2010’s record breaking year. Last year saw 500 wash companies with 1,200 locations providing 101,537 washes.* The hope is that this year will see even more participation providing more free washes for our brave and dedicated veterans. There will be participants this year from Australia and Canada as well.
I have had the pleasure of working at Lustra’s Richmond Street Car Wash in Appleton, Wisconsin for two years on this day and I am looking forward to doing it again this year. The lines at the wash give us the opportunity to speak to veterans while passing the time. I am amazed at how grateful these fine American men and women are for this free service. Many of them are so proud of their time in the military and are eager to share stories of their service. As the 11:00 AM hour approaches on the 11th day of the 11th month, we stop the washes and observe the traditional 2 minutes of silence to honor our fallen heroes.
The local CBS affiliate usually stops by and tapes a human interest story for their evening newscast. Others in the community are appreciative as well for the car wash operator’s generosity. It’s a great and rewarding experience to provide this simple gesture that is so appreciated.
If you haven’t participated in Grace for Vets, I encourage you to do so. It’s easy to sign up and your only obligation is to report the number of free washes you provided to our veterans. To get the word out, we developed a few fliers and distributed them to local businesses and veteran’s organizations. The event goes on rain or shine and the honor system is administered not requiring any proof of service. Go to http://www.graceforvets.org to sign up and be a part of an unusual and rewarding day.
Mark Brock, Vice President of Marketing, Lustra Professional Car Care Products
For more information go to LustraBear.com.
*Statistics from Grace for Vets