Back to News

Brown Bear Car Wash salutes Puget Sound vets

Donations will provide free trips to Washington, D.C. for World War II veterans

Honor Flight Network transports World War II veterans to Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

Since 1957, locally-owned Brown Bear Car Wash has been known for their impeccable customer service and environmental awareness. Since the beginning, they have supported their local communities, most recently including a large donation to Puget Sound Honor Flight -- an organization dedicated to transporting western Washington veterans to visit military memorials in Washington, D.C.

Over Veterans Day weekend, Brown Bear recognized and thanked veterans by donating $1 for every car washed at one of its 26 tunnel wash locations. This has been a tradition for them for the past five years, donating over $57,800 to Puget Sound Honor Flight. This year they raised $25,836.

During their weekend salute they also provided 3,110 free "Beary Clean" car washes to veterans and active-duty servicemembers. Brown Bear raises money for other organizations as well, such as the Fred Hutch Climb to Fight Cancer -- donating over $10,000 in 2016.

Brown Bear does a lot for the veteran community, supporting and donating to organizations like the USO, The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, and the USMC support group. But it is the Honor Flights that Bear's founder, president, and former Marine, Vic Odermat, spoke of, "We are honored to provide our area's aging or terminally ill veterans with an opportunity, at no cost to them, to view the military memorials in our nation's capital. It's our way of saluting the sacrifices and achievements of veterans in the communities we serve."

In 2004, after the completion of the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C., Earl Morse, a physician assistant at a VA clinic in Ohio, asked his patients if they would be able to make the trip. Most of them said no, unable to do so due to financial and physical restrictions. Morse also happened to be a private pilot, and decided to fly two of his patients to D.C.

After this first trip, Morse reached out to other pilots to volunteer giving veterans free flights and escorting them to their memorials. By May 2005, the first Honor Flight Hub flew and escorted 137 WWII veterans to their memorial. By 2013, over 100,000 veterans were transported to the capital to see their memorial, and the Honor Flight network has grown to 127 hubs serving 41 states.

The Puget Sound Honor Flight was established in March 2013 with the help of the corporate office of Honor Flight, the Northwest Honor Flight based in Spokane, and Honor Flight Chicago. At the time, over 200 WWII veterans of western Washington were on the wait list with Honor Flight. Senior veterans, as well as those with terminal illness, are prioritized, but it is the mission of Honor Flight that every vet sees their memorial.

comments powered by Disqus