Dwight Grose’s absence from the downtown was noticed almost immediately.
Not because garbage was piling up, but because business owners missed the affable litter control worker.
“Dwight is just always so pleasant, and he knows all the merchants by name, and they know him,” said Tina Stewart, executive director of the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association, which employs Dwight through an arrangement with the MSA Society for Community Living.
“He keeps the downtown clean and keeps an eye on things,” she said. “He is thrilled to have his job – he takes huge pride in it.”
She was one of the first to learn of his accident. Dwight was riding his bike when he was hit by a car on Nov. 30. He was taken to Abbotsford Regional Hospital, and as soon as Dwight learned that he needed surgery, his immediate concern was that his work be informed that he wouldn’t make it in the next day.
The hospital called Stewart on Dwight’s behalf, and he went into surgery to have his ankle and foot reassembled using four pins and two screws.
Soon Stewart began getting calls from downtown merchants wondering what happened to Dwight, then more follow-ups to see how he was doing.
“He’s just a fixture in the downtown,” she explained, “and he’s someone who never complains about life at all.”
He got back to work last week, and on Thursday morning Dwight was called to a special meeting at the ADBA office. Abbotsford Police Deputy Chief Rick Lucy was there, with a shiny mountain bike for him, and a new helmet.
“We (members of the APD) were touched by his story, and we do what we can to help,” said Lucy. “We love what the ADBA is doing for the city.”
He picked out the new wheels for Dwight – it was a found property item that would otherwise have gone to auction.
Dwight recalled the accident, and remarked that his old bike is “toast,” and how impressed he was by the new one from the APD.
“I’m glad to be back to work.”
His ankle is a lot better, but he says, “I’m still exercising it.
“I’m glad to be back to work. I don’t tolerate the mess down here,” he explained. “I keep the city clean.
“If I see needles and stuff down here, I clean it up.”
He is 52 (53 in June), and will apparently remain a fixture in downtown Abbotsford for years to come.
“I plan to retire in 13 years,” he said.