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Augusta County Man Finally Memorialized for VDOT Contributions - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Augusta County Man Finally Memorialized for VDOT Contributions

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The name Vastine Arehart is finally carved alongside 132 other names of Virginia Department of Transportation workers killed on the job.

Arehart's death had been forgotten by VDOT, until his family took action just two months ago.

VDOT remembers its workers who have died on the job by carving their names on a memorial along Interstate 64 overlooking Albemarle and Nelson counties. Vastine Arehart's name was left off.

"My dad was with my mom Sunday September 13, 1936 when I was baptized and then September 14, that is the day the accident happened," Agatha Meeks, Arehart's daughter, said.

Meeks never knew her father. "He was so goodhearted," she said.

Originally an Augusta County farmer, Arehart went to work for VDOT when farming wasn't enough support nine children.

"I think he worked there two or three years until the accident happened. I've always felt close, though I didn't know him," Meeks said.

Arehart was injured when the piece of equipment he was operating was hit from a tractor trailer from behind. Now his name is being added to the VODT memorial.

Meeks' granddaughter - Amelia Ammons - was researching their family tree when they saw a newspaper article reporting the collision on Lee Highway that killed Arehart.

"It kind of hit me that the article said he had been working for the highway department for three years. I wonder if his name is on that memorial across the mountain," Ammons said.

They checked and his name wasn't on the memorial. So Ammons contacted VDOT in July.

"She sent me the newspaper clipping from her aunt and I sent it to our safety and health division and they said ‘He's our man, he's one of our heroes, lets honor him.' "

Now, with the carving, Arehart's name joins the memory of more than 100 VDOT workers who gave their lives.

"[It] makes me feel very proud," Ammons said.

VDOT says it considers Arehart a hero and the commonwealth continues to search for more workers from the past whose names may have been left off the wall.

 

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