BRATTLEBORO >> "United We Stand — United We Wash" is the trademark slogan for Grace for Vets, a program created in 2004 by Mike Mountz, CEO of Cloister Wash & Lube in Ephrata, Penn., to provide free car washes to all veterans on Veterans Day.
During the Vietnam War, Mountz was injured, and after two months in a body cast, was sent to the Veterans Hospital in Valley Forge, for therapy. Surrounded by amputees and others much more seriously wounded than himself, he was awed by the spirit and bravery of these soldiers. During that time, he vowed that one day he would help veterans in some way. Many years later, after Mountz had opened his first car wash, he started the Grace for Vets Free Wash Program. A very small-scale program at first, it has blossomed profusely, now involving car washes in every state of the United States as well as Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.
Last year, more than 2,875 car wash locations were involved in giving 233,847 washes.
Burton Car Wash in Brattleboro has been involved since 2007, unfortunately the only participant in the state of Vermont.
"We wish there were other participating washes in Vermont," said Connie Burton, owner of burton Car Wash. "Nevertheless we are proud to represent our state and want to spread the word far and wide that every veteran or active duty serviceman or woman is invited to come to burton Touch Free Car Wash on Veterans' Day to be given their free top-of-the-line wash. Their service has been top-of-the-line, and their free wash should be nothing less. In 2014 we gave washes to 204 individuals. I hope we break that record this year."
Washes will be given rain or shine at the Touch Free Wash on Putney Road from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 11, Veterans' Day.
Though not part of the Grace for Vets program, all those who frequent burton Car Wash on the Nov. 11 will be entered into a drawing for a complimentary hand wax. The drawing will be held at the end of the day. Also at that time a check for $1,000 will be presented to the local Ruck Up Inc. Veterans Outpost, which provides advocacy, outreach and peer counseling to area veterans.
"It's so important to remember those who have served our country. The United States wouldn't be what it is today without the dedication and sacrifice of our military," said Burton. "We owe a lot to these dear folks. I didn't grow up in a military family, but I married a Marine and quickly learned to appreciate the role of the military in maintaining the liberty of this great country. Giving a free wash one day of the year is the least we can do to honor veterans for their service. I hope every serviceman in the area hears about this program, and comes to get a free wash on Nov. 11."
For more information on the Grace for Vets program, visit www.graceforvets.org. Ruck-Up, Inc. can be reached at www.ruckupinc.org.For more information about Burton's free wash offer, call Burton Car Wash at 802-257-5191.