Freedom Wash: Veteran revamps old car wash in NW Albuquerque

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Freedom Wash has only been open for a week, but has already made a huge community impact.

Many customers KOB 4 spoke with say the area is unrecognizable, now that new owner Joe Maez has taken over.

"Nothing was really here, the vacuums weren’t working, there was no water pressure in the stalls, there wasn’t even really soap,” Maez said. “The property had an amazing amount of potential, but it was going to take a lot of investment. So that’s what we did."

"I was here a year ago, and it looked horrible,” said customer Lanette Dahl. “I was scared to come in and wash my vehicle. I’m happy that someone took over the property and cleaned it up."

Not only does the upgraded carwash come with new equipment, it is spreading a message of hope and freedom.

"The idea was we wanted to do something cool and exciting for veterans because they get forgotten, a lot of times they get forgotten, and so freedom just totally came to mind," Maez said.

Thursday, veterans were able to drive through Freedom Wash for free. A simple way for Maez, who is a veteran himself, to thank other service men and women passing by.

"I was in the U.S. Marine Corps, and I went in in ’72 to ’76,” said customer and veteran Tommy Carlston.

Dahl who is also a veteran said,

"I served here on Kirtland Airforce Base, 1995 to 1999. I was with the 377th Transportation Squadron, and I loved it. I loved every moment of it. I think driving past this area will remind every veteran that you know, thank you for serving."

All customers are getting service with a smile, courtesy of Arcenio “Archie” Madrid.

"He’s a veteran of three different branches of the military, and so he kind of came with the property,” Maez said. “It’s nice to have him, and the customers love him because he’s so outgoing and nice and talkative."

"I’m happy to be here,” Madrid said. “I came across Joe with the prior owner of the carwash, and I guess being friends, you know, we fell in love with each other."

The community is falling in love with them too.

"Happy Veterans Day to all you veterans out there,” Carlston said. “This is awesome!”

Freedom Wash is open seven days a week and is located at 2200 Ladera Dr NW. Winter hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.