Clean Slate

By Kaitlin Harlow

The Alkoutami family immigrated to the U.S. from Syria in the 1980s, and they have lived in North Carolina since 1993. The Alkoutamis have made Hickory their home, and now more of their relatives seek to do the same – like Raed Domat, a Syrian refugee who is building a new life in Hickory in spite of the hurdles his family has faced.

Domat is an engineer, but he cannot practice his trade in the U.S. without going back to school. His family opened Viewmont Car Wash to give Domat a new opportunity to make a living. For the Alkoutami family, the car wash is a culmination of twenty years of integrating into the community and giving back to the town that they call home.