By Donald Wittkowski
Brian Coggins says it is his way to honor military veterans for all of the sacrifices they have made in the service of their country.
On Saturday, Nov. 11, Coggins will offer current and former members of the military free car washes at his Car Caress businesses in Ocean City and Marmora as part of a nationwide program on Veterans Day.
“We’re just trying to give back. They’re the reason we’re here doing what we’re doing,” he said of the veterans.
Car Caress will join with more than 3,600 other car wash locations across the country for the Grace For Vets program.
Free car washes for active and retired military members will be given rain or shine on Nov. 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Car Caress location at 1635 Haven Ave. in Ocean City and Car Caress II at 100 Stagecoach Road in Marmora. It is a $12 value.
Coggins said Car Caress has participated in the program for about the last five years. He characterized it as a simple “thank you” to the men and women in uniform who have given so much to their country.
“It’s been great,” he said. “They seem to really like it. It’s important for us on Veterans Day to give back and have them feel appreciated.”
Grace For Vets was founded by Mike Mountz, the former owner of a car wash in Ephrata, Pa. When Mountz was in the military, he was moved by the seriously wounded service members he saw at the Veterans Hospital in Valley Forge, Pa., and vowed to find a way to honor them.
Several years after opening his first car wash, Mountz founded the Grace For Vets program in 2004. With the help of car washes across the country, more and more members of the armed services are recognized through the program, according to a Car Caress press release.
“This day is not about the car wash operators who are providing the free washes – it’s about honoring and recognizing those that have and are serving and protecting our country,” Coggins said in the release. “It’s an exciting and emotional day for everyone. Our management team and employees look forward to giving back to those that have given so much.”
During an interview Wednesday in Ocean City, Coggins said he wasn’t sure how many veterans might show up at his businesses for free car washes, but he hopes to give out “as many as we can.”
“It’s really nice to see people in the community give something back to the veterans,” he said. “They’re getting free car washes. You can’t beat that.”