SMALL TOWNS: Dyckesville double amputee embraces mission of kindness

Dave Whiting isn't just "tooling" around Dyckesville in his wheelchair
Updated: Aug. 18, 2022 at 6:10 PM CDT
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DYCKESVILLE, Wis. (WBAY) - Faced with a major life decision a few years ago, a Brown County man has become an inspiration to his neighbors.

A big reason for that is because he’s always lending a helping hand, despite his new disability.

This week in Small Towns, we travel to Dyckesville, where Dave Whiting is always on the go.

Within his condominium neighborhood, Dave Whiting is on the look-out, for something that needs sprucing up, like someone’s yard or flower bed.

What many consider chores, Dave considers heaven.

“That’s my life, I’ve always been a person that I had to be outside doing something, or building or remodeling,” explains Dave.

And he does all of this from a scooter, without his two legs.

“You look down on the bed and you don’t see two feet sticking up,” says Dave.

After growing up in Green Bay, Dave spent 30 years working for St. Mary’s Hospital in building operations.

Around seven years ago, he started to notice something wasn’t right with his legs.

“When I was out raking and cutting grass my legs were getting sore, I could maybe cut the front and I’d have to rest, my circulation in my legs was bad,” says Dave.

Doctors determined Dave suffered from Peripheral artery disease, a condition in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the arms or legs.

Surgeries to open his arteries didn’t work and Dave’s toes started turning black.

Three years ago, at the age of 77, Dave had to make a decision.

“And he was kind of given two choices, amputation or go home,” recalls Dave’s wife, Dianne.

“So we discussed it with family and the doctors, the doctor pretty much said that if we did go above the knee he could guarantee that the circulation would be there for some time,” adds Dave.

Determined to stay positive, Dave opted for amputation.

“It’s like the old saying, if life gives you lemons you make lemonade, I’ve got lots of lemonade,” says Dave with a chuckle

He was ready to embrace his new way of life.

“This is it, let’s go with it, yeah, I wasn’t depressed, we do believe in God and he helped me along, I’ll tell you that,” says Dave.

After returning home from the hospital, Dave was initially confined to a wheel chair.

That didn’t last long.

“He was always so busy and it’s kind of like ok, what can we find, battery operated, that you can lift and handle, I mean he vacuums and that’s battery operated, and so we just purchased things to make it accessible for him to do things,” explains Dianne.

Like the scooter he now owns, and an assortment of tools, there’s little Dave isn’t ready to tackle.

“He’s a Norwegian, he makes up his mind, he’s going to do it, there’s no question about that,” says Dianne through laughter.

On average, Dave spends 3-4 hours a day out and about on his scooter doing his yardwork or the neighbors’.

“There’s always somebody that needs help, one of my friends had a big pile of mulch that I helped, I couldn’t haul the wheel barrows, but I could fill them up,” says Dave with a smile.

“He goes and he does the next door neighbor’s and that one down the road and even the garbage cans, he pushes the garbage cans out and then brings them back in and whoever has go their garbage cans in then he moves them up to their garage for them,” adds Dianne.

Dave’s kindness amazes his grateful neighbors.

“Before he had his legs removed he’s always doing something, but now he’s in this chair and he’s still always doing something. I looked out my window a couple days ago and he’s out with a trimmer along the edging and he said, I’m just making this place look a little nicer,” says Corinee Gariepy, who lives next door.

And day after day, that’s Dave Whiting.

A man with a tremendous attitude and a wonderful giving spirit.

“I’m going to do the best I can and I try to do that,” says Dave.

Along with inspiring all of his neighbors at the Edgewater Bluff Villas, Dave says he would love for the opportunity to talk with other amputees, to encourage and assure them they can still do so many things.