I decided to stop and wash my car in Lee’s Summit on the way to the airport. I was handed a flyer about the car wash changing it’s name to honor their founder, Charlie Walker who passed away in 2012. As I read the story I was touched by the life of Charlie Walker. I wish I would of had the pleasure to meet Mr. Walker. However, it is my pleasure to share his story with you, in Honor of Charlie Walker.
Charlie Walker was born on May 27, 1932. He grew up in Salina, KS, the oldest in a family that moved frequently due to financial circumstances. Charlie dropped out of school after the ninth grade and made his way to Colorado to work in a steel mill. He went on to serve proudly in the United States Air Force.
In the 1960’s, Charlie started two companies that used truck-mounted equipment to provide mobile cleaning solutions. In his travels across North America selling the cleaning equipment, Charlie recognized a need for high quality, professional truck washes and car washes.
Charlie’s first Blue Beacon Truck Wash was opened in Salina, Kansas, in 1973. Blue Beacon was an instant hit with truck drivers and Charlie immediately began adding new locations. Today Blue Beacon leads the truck wash industry, with more than 110 locations across the United States and Canada.
The first Charlie’s Car Wash was opened in 1981 using many of the methods and equipment perfected in Charlie’s other vehicle-washing companies.
Charlie’s greatest achievement in life was the way he gave back to his community and those in need. Charlie was a man of humble beginnings, and he never forgot his roots. He was an avid supporter of countless charities. Those closest to his heart included the Tammy Walker Cancer Center, named after his daughter who passed away at the age of 11, and the Rolling Hills Zoo, an AZA accredited zoo dedicated to the conservation of endangered species, founded by Charlie.