Rueben Garcia is rather a fixture in downtown Greenville and can usually be seen walking down Highway 89 in all manner of weather and seasons.
The Hwy. 89 corridor rehabilitation project to some may have daunted those daily efforts to walk — it’s not easy getting around all those cones — but Garcia, a young man with cognitive challenges showed up to walk around town same as usual despite the heavy construction.
The “B” team, as the construction crew currently working the street through Saturday, June 17, is known, took a liking to Rueben and decided to take him under their wing.
For the most part, Garcia has lived his life in Greenville and not ventured out to neighboring counties. Kevin McKnight, head of the crew, took Garcia down to Sacramento to Arden Fair Mall. It was the first time Garcia had ever been to one. Or rode an escalator. Or taken an elevator.
The crew collected money to buy Garcia some clothes and generally show him a fun weekend and had him stay with them and family.
Despite road construction and its inherent dangers, Garcia kept walking around downtown Greenville and hanging out.
The crew got him a hard hat and reflective vest for protection — and to be one of them. Garcia is clearly enjoying being part of the crew. They tasked him with setting cones knocked over by pedestrians and cars upright again.
The B team pulls out temporarily while another crew comes in. They’ll be back at the end of the summer, but meanwhile are going to go to work on the Oroville dam.
Downtown businesses and regulars worry what that will do to Garcia who has gotten used to this new routine and camaraderie.
McKnight and his crew will be back and pick up where they left off. Meanwhile, Garcia is one Indian Valley resident who has truly put time into working the project.