Harper Woods resident becomes trash-clearing hero

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published September 13, 2019

 Reggie Tabron picks up litter around Beaconsfield Avenue Sept. 8.

Reggie Tabron picks up litter around Beaconsfield Avenue Sept. 8.

Photo by Donna Agusti

HARPER WOODS — Reggie Tabron would regularly drive through Harper Woods with his parents when he was a child. He always loved the town and thought it was an incredibly appealing place to live.

After he moved there as an adult, he was disheartened by the litter he saw spread around the city. However, instead of becoming discouraged, he decided to take action. He has since become a regular fixture in the community, cleaning up trash along Harper Woods’ major thoroughfares.

“He is a silent hero who wasn’t looking for any gratification and noticed there was a problem, and instead of just complaining, he decided he would help resolve it by doing his part,” said Harper Woods City Councilman William Smith. “I think residents, myself included, can learn from Reggie that we can all do our part, whether it’s cleaning up litter, contributing and volunteering for projects, or whatever else they can do to make our city better.”

Smith has known Tabron for several years and said he was proud to discover the work his friend had undertaken. He added that the volunteer work is typical of Tabron’s attitude.

“I met him back when our children were both in Harper Woods Little League several years ago. I’ve known him for years, and he was always volunteering in the Little League or at the school district,” Smith said. “I was out cleaning my yard one day, and I saw him picking up garbage along Beaconsfield. I kept seeing him out there on the weekends, and eventually I talked to him about it, and I found out he had just taken it upon himself to clean up part of the community.”

Tabron, who works in Detroit as a math teacher at Paul Robeson Malcolm X Academy, has taken his one-man cleaning program all over the city, but he focuses on the most-traveled parts of the community.

“My main drag is Beaconsfield. It’s the main attraction of the city, and that’s where I would drive through with my parents,” Tabron explained. “The other streets can be cleaned too, but this is what is front and center for both residents and visitors.”

It can be slow, painstaking work, but bit by bit, Tabron said, he makes progress.

“I clean up almost anything I see. The most common are paper items, bottles, candy wrappers and that sort of thing,” he said. “It’s important because it helps keep the world cleaner and keep toxins out of the air.”

Tabron recalls those drives with his parents through the city and is inspired by those memories to keep Harper Woods as a good place for families to live.

“I liked how clean and friendly and quiet it was,” he said. “I like to see a clean community and feel like I’m doing what I can to make it cleaner and less toxic.”

Tabron’s work has inspired others to chip in and do their part to improve Harper Woods.

“Since Reggie has been picking up litter along Beaconsfield, it has inspired me to pick up litter over at the new basketball courts,” Smith said. “I was motivated by what he was doing.”

Tabron hopes others will do their part, even if they don’t have the time or ability to do something as proactive as spending their weekends cleaning up the roads.

“Put things in receptacles; that’s why they’re there,” Tabron advised. “Just become educated on pollution and maybe take some time to volunteer in the community, maybe at a school or in a club. … Take pride in your community, because if you do, you will have a better understanding of self.”

Community leaders have called Tabron an inspiration, and many added that any resident probably could learn a thing or two from him.

“Your actions can be very loud, even if what you are doing is silent,” remarked Smith. “A little thing like picking up trash can end up making a big difference.”