Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
State of Sound is back & even bigger. Get tix for the next show!

This Milwaukeean fixes up snowblowers and gives them away

“In this time of sour elections and pandemics running the world, it's nice to have some good energy, community spirit going around,” says Greg Ryan. "And I am so happy to be part of that.”

Greg is known for driving around Riverwest and other neighborhoods and picking up discarded lawn mowers and snow blowers. Here’s the thing: He fixes them up and gives them away to people for free.

“Initially, I was selling these things on Facebook or Craigslist,” says Greg. “But then I just started noticing that there were a lot of people out there that could really use a snowblower and often couldn't afford to pay for them.”

Greg is an engineer. At one point he worked at Bliffert Lumber in Riverwest, where he’d fix up outdoor equipment that people would bring in.

Today, he no longer works at Bliffert but he's kept rolling with the work.

Greg working in his garage. | Photo courtesy of: Greg Ryan

Greg runs an engine company and part of his business is servicing what people bring in, but lately he’s been getting so many donations that fixing up old equipment is one of the highest demands of his time.  

“The word started getting out and people would contact me and say, ‘Hey, I have a lawn mower for you. Would you like this to give to somebody else?’ And I'd say yes, absolutely,” Greg says.

Photo credit: Greg Ryan

Greg says that a good portion of the lawn mowers and snow blowers that he fixes typically have fuel issues. Some use ethanol, which is derived from plans and can clog engines.

Also did you know that gas expires? Old gas can cause the engine not to start. In a case like this Greg will clean it out and most of the time things work; it’s where he goes first in route to diagnose.

“A lot of people leave gasoline in their snowblowers, for example, over the summer," Greg says. "When they go out in the fall or even the winter to start it off. It's not going to start.”

But Greg says the most rewarding part of his work is giving the lawn mowers and snow blowers out for free.

He asks people to “snow blow it forward,” though it’s not a requirement but most people are more than happy to comply.

“People say if I can get this snow blower, I will,” says Greg. “I will snow blow out the entire block. I'm assuming that they're going to do what they promise and I'm not checking up on anybody in any way.”

We all know how a winter snow can be a hindrance to getting to work on time when you’re trying to dig a path to your car or get the car out from under the snow. Greg says some equipment can really make the difference.

Greg is happy to help people and loves the community spirit that fixing and giving out lawnmowers brings for people.