ROCHELLE PARK, N.J. — A retired police officer and Rochelle Park business owner is gearing up to help a U.S. Air Force family for the second year in a row.
Harry Sandwith of Dirty Harry's Detailing, formerly a Jersey City police officer, is heading to Maine and joining forces with the East Coast contingent of the Detail Mafia for the Second Annual Operation Sleigh Shine.
This week, the group will surprise U.S. Air Force SMSgt Tim McAlister, his wife Amanda, and 12-year-old son Jeff with a revitalization of the family vehicle.
They will then load it with Christmas gifts donated by the community.
Though the McAlister family knows the Detail Mafia will be cleaning their vehicle, they do not know they are the recipients of a charity gift drive designed to help an active duty military family who are either struggling financially, or need help this holiday season.
“I see it as a way to say, ‘Thank You’ to military families who are often called to dangerous parts of the world during the holiday season, putting a financial and emotional strain on the family, especially children,” Sandwith said.
“This is the kind of work the Detail Mafia was set up to do and what we, as a brotherhood of detailers, do best!”
Sandwith is a member of the Air Force One Detailing Team and a long-time member now-president of the Board of Directors for Detailing Success’ Detail Mafia.
“Made-Men” of the Detail Mafia have proven themselves leaders and mentors, and they famously cross state lines to come to the need of other Mafia members who need help in their communities.
The exclusive Detail Mafia are committed to excellence in everything they clean whether it is boat, airplane, exotic sports car, everyday drive, or a rejuvenated classic. Most of these projects are performed pro bono and have included cleaning emergency vehicles after natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy and Harvey; restoring historic airplanes and fire engines for museums; and coming to the needs of law enforcement, Gold Star families, military veterans, and active duty military personnel, like Operation Sleigh Shine.
Sandwith will be joined by Andrew Swenson of Wolfeboro Car Wash & Executive Detail in New Hampshire on Friday to help Macha give the family vehicle a complete interior and exterior detail beginning with a hand wash and dry; a tire and wheel shine; clay bar to clean the contaminants from the paint; and a stage one paint correction to remove any oxidation, fine scratches, and flaws in the paint.
The interior will get a European steam clean of the hard plastics, upholstery; a carpet shampoo to remove any stains or odor-causing bacteria; and an application of Glassparency, which will promise streak-free glass for up to three years. They will finish the car off with a durable, exterior protective ceramic coating to preserve the shine for up to two years.
The goal is to get the aging vehicle shining like it did when it was new. The total retail value will be in excess of $500.
As a nationally-recognized certified automotive detailer and paint correction specialist, Sandwith volunteered to help his fellow Mafia member, Scott Macha of Total Eclipse Auto Detailing in Maine, who started Operation Sleigh Shine last year.
“We have to do something for our families paying the ultimate sacrifice in service of our country,” Macha said.
“SMSgt Tim McAlister was recommended to us this year by his Master sergeant who says that in spite of not having a lot of assets for himself, is always giving to and helping others.”
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