Dozens gather to honor Purple Heart veterans who post the giant Kaddy Car Wash flag Aug. 16

{img:122020}A crowd of several dozen people showed up at Kaddy Car Wash for an emotional and patriotic flag-raising ceremony Tuesday, Aug. 16, that was part of the King City/King City Civic Association’s 50th birthday celebration.

Six Purple Heart veterans formed an Honor Guard, marching to the towering flag pole next to the car wash, where a giant 60-foot-by-20-foot American flag had been lowered. As the veterans stood at attention, the flag was quietly raised up toward the blue sky.

The 50th celebration started with a parade the previous Saturday and continued with an open house for KCCA clubs Sunday and a high tea at the Clubhouse on Monday.

“We’ve done so many great things in just a few days,” said Mayor Ken Gibson. “It takes a whole lot of people doing a lot of work to make this happen. Thanks to all of you for a great turnout.”

BARBARA SHERMAN - The six-member Purple Heart Honor Guard retreats after raising the flag at Kaddy Car Wash as part of the King City/KCCA's 50th birthday celebration.Gibson acknowledged the city councilors who were present, and he also asked the six Purple Heart veterans to introduce themselves; as they did, they talked about their tours of duty in service to our country.

The Honor Guard included Dennis Cater; Spencer Jones, Chapter 72 Military Order of the Purple Heart commander; King City resident John Soliz; Jack Slothower; John Alto; and Joel Dulashanti, adjutant with Chapter 72 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

“They received combat wounds to protect our freedom,” Gibson said.

{img:122023}Event organizers wanted to make Purple Heart veterans the focus of the event because King City became a Purple Heart City on Dec. 2, 1915, joining 11 other cities at that time in Oregon, which became the 15th Purple Heart State in 2015.

“I also want to thank all the World War II veterans,” said City Councilor Bob Olmstead. “We have a lot of them living here in King City.”

KCCA President Denny Gelfand added, “I want to thank (Kaddy Car Wash owner) Chuck Kaddy for putting up the flag.”

BARBARA SHERMAN - Mayor Ken Gibson (left) asked the Purple Heart veterans who served as the Honor Guard to introduce themselves; from left are Dennis Cater; Spencer Jones, Chapter 72 Military Order of the Purple Heart commander; King City resident John Soliz; Jack Slothower; John Alto; and Joel Dulashanti, adjutant with Chapter 72 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

In fact, restoring the flag pole and flag was a Herculean effort on the part of Kaddy, who spoke to the Regal Courier the week before.

Kaddy owns 20 car wash locations on the West Coast, from the Vancouver/Portland area south to Corvallis to Albany, California. He purchased the King City car wash about 20 years ago from the original owner, Dwight Purcell, who installed the flag pole that has become a west-side landmark.

With the technology used at the time, “you raised and lowered the flag using ropes on the outside of the pole,” Kaddy said. “It would take two people to raise and lower the flag because it is so heavy, and over the years the pole had to be repainted because of the ropes rubbing against it. We had considered taking the whole thing down.”

This spring, vandals cut the ropes, and the flag fell to the ground. When Kaddy was asked if he would make the flag available for the official flag-raising ceremony for the 50 celebration, the only option was to use a special crane based in Seattle.

“It came to light how important the flag is to the community,” Kaddy said. “We were put in the queue to wait for the crane, and then it had to be brought to King City.”

Use of the crane and installing all the components inside the pole cost $10,000, according to Kaddy, but now one person can raise and lower the flag, it is protected from vandals, and maintenance on the pole is greatly decreased.

“We were trying to minimize the maintenance on the flag too,” Kaddy said. “The bigger it is, the more it shreds. It is a landmark, people love it, and it flies 24/7. We are committed to the community, and I was glad to do it.”

BARBARA SHERMAN - Dozens of King City residents came to the King City/KCCA's official flag-raising ceremony on Tuesday, Aug. 16, which honored Purple Heart veterans.After the ceremony, as people chatted with each other, Nancy Hayes told how the flag saved her one dark and stormy night.

“I moved here from Connecticut six years ago, and on a dark, rainy night, I was coming home and took a wrong turn and found myself up on Bull Mountain,” she said. “I had no idea where I was, and I was scared. Suddenly I saw the flag lit up, and I worked my way toward it down the hill. It is a great symbol.”

Also at the ceremony was WWII veteran Carl Finley, who was born in Tigard in 1921 and raised there. “I remember when King City was a cow pasture,” he said.

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