WVVA Hometown Hero: Augustosky tackles Mercer County litter and more

Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 4:10 PM EST
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ROCK, W.Va. (WVVA) - A retired postal worker in Mercer County is keeping up her work to keep her home county litter-free. Linda Augustosky not only helps to pick up roadside litter, she’s also a leader in the effort to rid the county of dilapidated structure. She even finds the time to inspire kids to develop a love for reading.

“It hurts my soul to see all this litter that we have,” Augustosky said. It’s why she says she went from complaining about the problem to doing something about it years ago.

“I wrote a lot of letters to the editor and complained about the trash, and then one day, I just thought, you know, you can do better than just sitting down and typing up a letter. You need to get out and do something,” Augustosky said. She has participated in county-wide group clean-up campaigns, but also spends countless hours working solo on a weekly basis to get litter off the side of the roads. When asked what motivates this kind of effort, “I’ve lived here my entire life. I’m not going to tell you how many years that is, but I’ve lived here forever, and I truly love where I live,” Augustosky said.

The man who nominated Augustosky, Merrell “Skip” Crane, says her fight against litter did not go unnoticed by leaders in Mercer County, “I think that’s one of the reasons why they asked her to be president of the dilapidated structures committee because she’s got an eye. She spots things. She knows where tourists come. No, she knows. She’s aware, she’s aware of her environment and she protects it. She wants it to be better. She’s very inspirational,” Crane said.

Augustosky says it took awhile for the dilapidated structures committee to gain traction and funding, but now it’s firing on all cylinders, “We’ve got close to 100 down already, maybe 80? But there’s more coming and it’s looking better every single day, but there is so much more to do. This problem didn’t start overnight, this has been going on for years and years and years,” said Augustosky.

This retired postal worker is also carrying-on the work her mother started as the unofficial historian for Rock, West Virginia. It’s a role she stepped into when her mom passed a few years ago. Augustosky says keeping the history alive is important to her, “A lot of the older people and a lot of the younger people didn’t know, didn’t know we had a Bottling soda plant in Rock, didn’t know we had a, you know, a swimming pool right down the road here. Lots of things were in this little town,”

From “shade tree” historian to planting the seeds she hopes will grow into a love for reading. Augustosky says she was convinced to join a civic group’s effort to pass out hardcover books to kids in area schools, “It is so wonderful to hand a kid, a book and see their eyes light up. That’s why I joined the Lions Club, because Skip Crane told me that we get to go to schools, and we get to hand out books to kids because I love to read,” said Augustosky with a smile.

However, Augustosky says one of her biggest joys is the sense of accomplishment that comes from making a section of roadway litter-free. “I love to see what it looks like when we are finished. I love to see what it looks like, and I like it when people wave and honk their horn, because they appreciate, you know, what we do. And it is not just me, you know, I clean up a lot of it by myself, but there’s a lot of people that do this, " said Augustosky, adding, “No, I am not a hero. I’m just a public servant. I am a public servant that loves where I live, and I want to make this a better place for my grandchildren. We have 18 grandchildren, and I want to make this a better place for them and for my 93-year-old dad, you know? And for me, my husband, and for you, all of you.” said Augustosky.