Man cleans up Milaca from his wheelchair

Austin Gerth / My Generation David Reiman at Heritage House. He travels Milaca, keeping his community clean.

Austin Gerth / My Generation
David Reiman at Heritage House. He travels Milaca, keeping his community clean.

Frequenters of Reineke Park in Milaca in the last few years may have noticed a wheelchair-bound Samaritan picking up stray garbage in the park during afternoons and wondered who he is.
David Reiman is that mysterious litter picker-upper’s name, and he is a resident at Heritage House, the assisted living facility situated across the street from Reineke.
Reiman regularly goes on jaunts through the area around Heritage House in his wheelchair. He says he used to venture all the way into Milaca’s downtown, past the laundromat, but he doesn’t go quite so far anymore.
When he cleans up Reineke Park, Reiman goes prepared. He brings with him a metal pick up tool so that he doesn’t need to bend over in his chair to pick up litter, and he uses clothespins to affix trash bags to his chair so that he can transport any garbage he collects to the proper place for disposal. “He’s even got a rearview mirror that he takes along,” Martha Cline, a housekeeper at Heritage House, said.
Despite his proclivity for picking up refuse, Reiman does not seem too motivated by concern for the environment. “I just do it for my own exercise,” he said, “to keep my weight down.”
Reiman was born and went to school in Princeton, and he’s lived at various times in Grand Marais and Cloquet, and travelled to Colorado and California. Reiman was born with hydrocephaly, also known as water on the brain, and he went through several operations when he was three years old.
He’s been in a wheelchair since 1992 or 1993, when his legs were starting to give out on him and his hearing failed, which affected his balance. Reiman moved into Heritage House in 2006. He enjoys reading the Bible and outdoor and conservation-themed magazines.
Reiman says he has an electric wheelchair, but it broke some time ago and he hasn’t yet gotten it fixed. “This keeps me in shape,” he said of the chair he pushes himself around Milaca in.