Virginia retiree on one-man trash crusade: 'You sure surprised me'

Watch for a new CBS 6 Month of Giving surprise every day in December on CBS 6 News at 6 a.m., 4 p.m., and 6 p.m.
Posted at 10:45 AM, Dec 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-19 14:05:58-05

CAROLINE COUNTY, Va. — Tommie Trimmer, who is dedicated to keeping his corner of Caroline County clean, was recently surprised as part of the CBS 6 Month of Giving.

The 78-year-old retired bookbinder is on a one-man trash crusade. Mr. Trimmer spends two to three times a week cleaning a two to three mile stretch of Ruther Glen by himself.

Mr. Trimmer uses a bucket and bags to collect wrappers, plastic bottles, cigarette butts, dirty diapers and broken glass. He fills more than 100 plus industrial bags every year.

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The septuagenarian, who doesn’t get paid for his work, has been picking up garbage for about a dozen years near truck stops and hotels.

The Richmond native does this while living with painful rheumatoid arthritis. Doctors tell Mr. Trimmer if he doesn’t stay active his body will give up and he will end up in a wheelchair or an assisted living facility.

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Mr. Trimmer takes pride in keeping his neighborhood clean, but doesn’t know how long his aching muscles, legs and hands will allow him to keep going.

He told me jokingly that he is always looking for a $100 bill, but acknowledges that even if he did find the money and knew whose it was, he would return it.


Recently I surprised Mr. Trimmer to make his dream come true. With the help of The Virginia Credit Union, I surprised Mr. Trimmer with a $200 gift card.

A grateful Mr. Trimmer was floored.

"Thank you so much. I really appreciate it," he said. "I never thought it would bring me any money picking it up."

He says one thing he will spend the money on is a new pair of shoes. He says he goes through several pairs of shoes during his trash collecting mission.

Thank you for keeping central Virginia clean Mr. Trimmer.

The CBS 6 Month of Giving made possible by Virginia Credit Union is underway. Watch for a new surprise every day in December on CBS 6 News at 6 a.m., 4 p.m., and 6 p.m. Have an idea about who we should surprise next, click here to email our team.