If you drive the stretch of road between Ravenswood and Millwood on any given day, you have probably noticed a sweet, little lady walking along the roadside picking up trash.
That sweet, little lady is 69-year-old Martha Snyder. She has lived in Jackson County since 1976 and she takes pride in keeping the road neat, tidy, and litter free.
Making her rounds seven days a week, no matter the weather, Snyder ventures along the roadway gathering up any litter she finds.
She travels the main road and does the occasional route around by the Constellium plant, which she says is generally a three-hour trek, but beautiful and soothing due to the view of the river.
“I like to be neat, and this needs done, it desperately needs to be done,” Snyder said.
Growing up on a timber farm in Marion County, Snyder said she used to wander around the farm for hours.
“I’ve been walking since I took my first steps, always on the go, I never stop,” Snyder said laughing. “When I was little I would get in trouble for taking off and walking around the farm. I would be gone for hours and my parents would whoop me when I got home because they never knew where I was.”
She loves to walk and since she still owns property in Marion County, she said the walking she does in Jackson County keeps her fit for the time she spends keeping the wood trails clean around the farm.
Snyder’s husband passed away in 1985 and she has no children, so now that she is retired, walking and picking up the litter gives her something to do that keeps her busy.
Another reason Snyder said she does what she does is because she feels that keeping an area clean helps with economic development as well as deterring others from littering.
“The more people see the road cleaned up, the less likely they are to litter,” Snyder said.
As far as what Snyder has observed on her walks, she said she notices a lot of large trucks traveling the road and she has picked up some nasty stuff, but she feels most drivers, are very respectful of her and what she is trying to accomplish.
Snyder said she prefers to walk on the side of the blacktopped road, but is always cautious and if she sees a vehicle that is not moving over or gets a little close, she moves off the road and in to the gravel or grass on the side.
“I always walk facing traffic,” Snyder said. “People don’t realize how they tend to swerve over the white lines.”
Many people have taken an interest in Snyder and have noticed her walking over the years.
“I had a man stop one time, I thought maybe he was upset that I was on his property or something,” Snyder said. “When he got out of his truck, he was shaking his head and carrying a package. He said he and his friends were talking about me and how they see me all the time. He gave me the package and asked me if I would wear what was inside. It was a bright colored road workers vest.”
Snyder said the man told her he was concerned for her safety and wanted her to wear it so people would be able to see her better. She said it really made her feel blessed to know that people care about her and what she is doing for the community.
Snyder has since purchased her own brightly colored vest that she wears during her daily walks.
Snyder said she will continue walking and picking up litter until she can’t walk anymore. She takes pride in keeping the roadways clean and appreciates the community as well as the residents and businesses who have let her use their dumpsters to dispose of the trash she collects.
She is humbled knowing that people appreciate the effort she is making in doing her part to keep the community clean. And even though she gets the occasional honk or wave, she feels her true rewards come from God.
“God gives me my rewards,” Snyder said. “This is beautiful country around here.”