Herman Deal is a veteran of the carwash industry and the United States Army Air Corps, and for the latter he was recently presented the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

Deal, now retired, entered the carwash industry in 1964, but the event that earned him the Purple Heart took place in 1944, according to Mlive.com.

Deal’s plane was shot down over France by German anti-aircraft guns, noted the article. His right shoulder and hand were injured when he bailed out of the aircraft, and then he was captured and held as a prisoner of war for 13 months.

At a recent ceremony, Deal, 91, was given the medal he earned more than 70 years ago, stated the article. "I don't really think I deserve it," Deal says in the article. "It was an accident. A piece of the airplane came out on the way down in the parachute and hit me."

Despite his humble objections, Deal’s son, Rob, is proud of his father’s contributions to his country. He shares his father was an innovator for the carwash industry, which he approached with an attitude of professionalism.

“My father always worked toward an ‘improvement of the overall industry’ mindset, and so he helped all the manufacturers, operators — anybody he could that was looking to do something in the industry — he wanted to make sure it was done professionally, done correctly, done with the utmost concern for improving the professionalism of everybody involved in the carwash industry,” explains Rob Deal, VP of international and corporate accounts for Innovative Control Systems.

One of Herman Deal’s greatest contributions to the industry was the de-icing system. While working for Midvale Supply in the 1960s, he got the idea as he drove by a carwash every day. He watched an employee break up ice with a pickaxe in the winter, and he knew there was a better way.

Carwashes had used heated water running through underground pipes in other applications, so Deal knew it could be used to heat the ground and bays as well. With this system Deal “created a way for self-service bays, in-bay automatic and tunnel operators to operate in cold weather when it was a [freezing] temperature outside and freezing the ground — they create a way to make it so you could drive on the property and work in the bays without getting injured,” shares Rob Deal.

According to Jamie Fetherman, inside sales with Innovative Control Systems, Herman Deal’s involvement with carwashing is vast.

Deal worked on the merger of the International Carwash Association (ICA) and the National Carwash Council (NCC) into one association, and he served on the board of ICA for 15 years, states Fetherman. He owned a supplier business, Huron Valley Sales, and has been a member of ICA for more than 50 years.

In addition to his association involvement, Deal also helped create the Larry Harrell Scholarship Fund, relays Fetherman. The scholarship supports employees (and their family members) of ICA members as they pursue college educations.

For his son Rob, Herman Deal’s focus on doing things correctly is just what the industry needs. The elder Deal wanted to improve the industry.

“And he did that by being a board member, by being a supplier, by being a good advocate for the carwash industry. He’s a good representation for what the industry needs in people,” he concludes.

Herman Deal also received additional medals long overdue for his military service, according to Mlive.com. Deal’s focus on doing the right thing and doing it well makes him a distinguished veteran of two of the United States’ most innovative organizations.

Click here to read the article on Mlive.com.