Michigan City was full of shiny and squeaky clean cars on Friday. The 4th Annual United Way Car Wash competition between the Michigan City Police Department, Michigan City Fire Department and Michigan City Area Schools made its way to the town as they lathered up cars in order to raise funds for the United Way of La Porte County.
The competition spreads across Michigan City as the departments go against each other in order to gain the crown as the the facility to raise the most money. Over the past three years the race between the three competitors has been heated - but all in good fun, of course. For example: each competitor brings their dirtiest vehicle to be washed at each station amongst all of the other cars they have to wash. A dirty school bus is sent to the fire station, or the dirtiest police vehicle for the MCAS to clean. It goes around in a circle until they get the respective participants their vehicle back cleaner than it ever has been before.
MCAS and the MCPD had the greatest sense of humor about the race, which is shown by the badgering between the two organization's leaders. Superintendent of Michigan City Area Schools Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins explains that the teasing about who was going to win this year has been going back and forth between the two-time champions MCPD and the MCAS for weeks.
“We fully plan on dethroning them this year," Eason-Watkins said. "They’ve tried all types of tactics, trying to intimidate us and we haven’t stepped down. [Chief of Police Mark Swistek] stepped into my office last week with two dozen donuts as an advance consolation prize. In return we took him a bottle of ketchup that he could utilize for their hotdogs they were giving out. He didn’t even use it!”
Swistek let it be known that the MCPD upped their confidence by being reigning champions of the competition and expect to gain the number one spot once again. “I do expect us to gain that number one spot again," he said. "Dr. Eason-Watkins is really up for some competition this year. We’ve called in some of our best friends and family to help support us so we’re incredibly hopeful that we will win once again.”
Besides the light hearted competition between the organizations the real message of the car wash was all of the money being raised for the United Way.
James Young, the Training Officer for the Michigan City Fire Department, said that the department was more than happy to participate in order to raise money for the charity. “It’s a great avenue to benefit a great local charity like the United Way. There’s a lot of need in the community for the United Way to give back and this is a perfect way to show our support for something so essential.”
Dave Sisk, Manager of Community Engagement for the United Way of La Porte County, was on hand for the MCAS car wash and said he was “tickled” by the response of the groups involved but the community coming together.
“It means the world to us. This is what it means to be a part of a community and a part of the United Way. They went above and beyond to raise money for the United Way - and it’s tough to explain how that feels because we’re so honored to be a part of everything that they’re doing,” he said.
Even with the less than optimal weather conditions of cold wind, rain and cloudy skies lasting most of the morning, all of the people involved with the annual car wash were delighted to be a part of it all. The genuine sense of community and togetherness in order to raise money for charity was a shining beacon of what Michigan City has to offer. As the MCPD made jokes, the MCFD hammed it up for the camera, and the MCAS gave hugs out to their donors, the car wash couldn’t of been a better example of what having fun in the name of giving back should be like. Once again next year the three competitors will be back at it to be the champion of the car wash, but everyone will be looking back at how great the 4th Annual Car Wash really, and truly, was.