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Hard corps cleaning

June 11, 2007|By Kelly Strodl

NEWPORT BEACH — Hundreds of drivers pulled into the Arches Restaurant parking lot Sunday morning, although most never ventured inside for a sit-down meal. Instead they treated their vehicles to a pristine cleaning from a pack of highly disciplined Marines.

Scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the wash continued servicing cars well into 3 p.m. Nearly 470 vehicles passed through the makeshift operation that raised more than $12,000 by 3 p.m. This is the third carwash put on by Arches owner Danny Marcheano, and his love for the troops seems unending.

As often as he can find time, Marcheano hosts activities and fundraisers for the troops in the city's adopted 1st Battalion, 1st Marines. Marcheano said he hopes to "counteract the antiwar" sentiments he sees too often in the American culture.

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"[The troops are]the reason we have all this fun and freedom," Arches owner Dan Marcheano said. "They give their lives and their limbs for us."

The money donated toward the 1st Battalion based out of Camp Pendleton will go toward funding soldiers who wish to attend the Marine's celebration ball held at the end of October.

"There wasn't as much support [of the military] when I came in" back in 1983, said Lt. Colonel Neil Schuehle, the battalion's commander.

Schuehle recently inherited the post and said he was happy to take command because of supportive groups like the Arches staff and Marcheano.

Schuehle drove up for the day with his wife and four daughters. The eldest, Sedona Schuehle, 8, passed out cookies, cupcakes and other sweets to scores of people standing outside of the restaurant waiting for their cars to sparkle and shine.

"I get nervous when he goes to war on the sea," Sedona said while serving cookies to a group of people. "It gets me [to] feel like helping out here."

For kids who got a little more antsy, a brand new combat equipped Hummer and jeep sat in front of the restaurant. The troops stationed by its side eagerly offered tours of the vehicles' inner workings, which for the Hummer included a 50-caliber gun that spun on a turret attached to the roof of the vehicle.

Robert Bents, 9, of Costa Mesa, inspected every piece of the truck with awe.

"I like the 50-caliber," Robert said. "I've seen [them] in movies I've watched and stuff, but it was cool to see it spin around."

Marcheano and the crew kept things fun and water conscious by employing the services and materials of environmentally friendly company ProntoWash.

The company uses a spray-on lotion mixture of waxes and oils, said Jim Fitzpatrick, president of the Southern California portion of the franchise.

This allows the car wash to come to the customer, as it did Sunday.

And more is expected to come in over the next couple of months, Marcheano said. Anyone wishing to donate should can send checks made payable to the First Marine Special Operations Battalion. Send them to the Arches at 3334 West Coast Highway, Newport Beach, CA 92663.


  • KELLY STRODL may be reached at (714) 966-4623 or at kelly.strodl@latimes.com.

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