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Record-breaking year for the 'Riverwest Snowblower Guy'

Posted at 6:15 PM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 19:15:50-05

MILWAUKEE — Greg Ryan, a.k.a the 'Riverwest Snowblower Guy,' has had a tough time keeping up with donations and demand for snowblowers this season.

“I've probably given away I don’t know 50 snowblowers this season already," he said.

And the season isn't even over yet. For the past few years, Ryan has been given broken snowblowers. He fixes them up and then donates them on Facebook to anyone in need.

Greg said that it can be overwhelming, but in a good way.

Greg Ryan works on a snowblower.

"It’s not so stressful as opposed to sometimes, I don’t think I have enough time in the day to fix all the machines out there.”

In fact, he has had to turn down some donations because he is so swamped. His garage is seemingly always full of snowblowers he needs to work on, and there are always people in line waiting for one he has refurbished.

"I have enough people that want them that I could get rid of them in an hour."

Back in October when we first met Ryan, he was already giving out snowblowers before the first snow even fell.

Ryan is an engineer. He started a part-time small engine repair company in his retirement. As he would visit customers, they would give him their broken or old snowblowers. He would fix them up and donate them. It started slow, but eventually caught steam. He has fixed and donated hundreds in the past four years. The 2020/2021 winter has been his busiest season so far.

"People are always happy to get them. I'm happy to give them out."

With all his charitable work, it has given him a bit of a reputation in the Harambee and Riverwest neighborhoods.

"I'll be walking down the street, and they’ll say 'you’re the snowblower guy,' and they say it with love," he said.

However, he doesn't do it for any notoriety. It's for his neighbors.

"The thing that I really like is when I give a snowblower out and the recipient snowplows out their neighbor."

It's a simple message of helping your neighbors that he hopes spreads throughout Milwaukee.

"Help your neighbors out. This is a community effort. I'm part of the community. You’re part of the community. Let’s make this a community effort.”

Once winter is over, Ryan doesn't hang up the tools and waits for the next snowfall. In a few months, his nickname will change to the 'Riverwest Lawnmower Guy'.

If you want to donate or are in need of a snowblower, reach out to him on his website.

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