Albert Lea DAV still dealing with garbage in donation bins

(ABC 6 News) – Disabled American Veterans in Albert Lea are doing their best to give back to other vets. But there’s one issue in the way.

The DAV needs to spend its own money to get rid of things like broken appliances. With a new camera installed, there are hopes of fixing the problem.

"If we can contact law enforcement with a license plate number, description of a vehicle, and the person dropping it off, maybe law enforcement can pass the bill onto them," said Greg Sundholm, the treasurer of Albert Lea’s Chapter of Disabled American Veterans.

"I hate to say it, but one man’s junk is another man’s treasure," said J.D. Carlson, the director of public safety at the city of Albert Lea.

Can someone legally get in trouble? The answer is complicated. Under the law, garbage is considered things like fireworks debris, or litter. That can be a petty misdemeanor. Dumping your old stroller isn’t unlawful.

"Who are we to say that the people dropping items off don’t have the best intentions in mind?" added Carlson.

Sundholm on the other hand: "The one thing that I think irks me the most, I guess is for every penny we have to spend to get rid of someone else’s garbage and stuff, is one more penny that we can’t put towards our mission of helping other veterans."

Alicia’s dad is a disabled veteran and she sees the frustration firsthand.

"It’s just disrespectful, they have to take care of it. The DAV has to take it to the dump, that’s not what this mission here is for," she said. "He gets a little frustrated, and I think I get a little frustrated as his daughter, and knowing all these guys here too, it’s hard work."

Carlson has a reminder for people: "Remember, what this cause is for, the DAV is a non-profit. Consider as a rule of thumb, if it’s not good enough for you, should it be good enough for our disabled veterans?"

Sundholm said to those who can’t or won’t do the right thing, to not be sorry but to be better.