WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Springdale community came together Tuesday night to honor Faye Swetlik, the little girl who was tragically murdered after being kidnapped by a neighbor while she was playing in her front yard in Cayce.
Faye was just 6 years old when she was killed.
At 7 p.m. Tuesday, her family, officials, and others gathered at the Felton C. Benton Park to honor Faye’s life.
The Springdale Police Department invited members of the public to remember the bubbly little girl.
During the event, a tree was planted and a bench was dedicated in Faye’s honor.
The bench is painted in one of Faye’s favorite colors -- bright pink with rainbows on it.
“Her purpose in life was to be a rainbow in a world full of clouds,” Sandy Heraldson, the former Springdale Elementary School Resource Officer, said.
Speakers hoped that part of Faye’s personality inspired others to be the same.
The new bright pink bench is one way that the Cayce community continues to remember Faye, who was a bright light gone too soon.
“It’s referred to as a buddy bench, and it means just that -- buddies can be made right there,” Heraldson said.
Faye’s grandmother, Ruth Collins, said more than anything, Faye loved making new friends.
“She was always there to make a friend,” Collins said. “If someone was looking like they were lonely, she was right there.”
Her bubbly personality is something that always brought a smile to her family, teachers, and classmates.
“She was the sunshine that spread joy to each person she came in contact with,” Heraldson said. “She was eager and full of creativity, her love for dresses and snazzy shoes showed just that.”
Springdale’s Mayor Michael Bishop announced a town resolution during the ceremony making Sept. 22 “Faye Day” in Springdale.
“It’s the first day of Fall, the first day of Faye’s favorite season, a season in each year that is usually filled with gathered families and joy,” Heraldson said.
Heraldson said it’s also a time of color in a world that can, at moments, feel dark.
“I challenge you to find the color in each day, find the joy, and most importantly, I challenge you to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud,” Heraldson said.
Faye’s family hopes the rocks beneath the bench are painted colorfully, to spread more color in this world and to help others have a “Faye Day.”