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Little Faye Marie Swetlik still touching lives 6 months after her death

Cayce, SC (Paul Kirby) – Just over 6 months ago, little Faye Swetlik was found dead after having been missing for about 3 days from her home in the Churchill Heights area of Cayce. She had been snatched from outside while playing and even though literally hundreds of well-trained law enforcement professionals searched and worked around the clock, they couldn’t prevent what all of them prayed would not be the outcome. Faye’s body was found within a short distance of where she had been taken. She was just 6 years old.

Faye was a resident of Cayce but went to school at Springdale Elementary. According to the lead investigator in the case, Faye loved dresses, fancy shoes, spending time with her family, and cats. Her family said she also liked collecting rocks, playing outside, and taking selfies with her family and friends. You didn’t have to see her smiling face in the media coverage but once to realize that she lit up any room she walked into and was a special kid.

Now, six months later, the topic of conversation has changed for many Americans as current events have changed. Yet for her family, her friends, teachers, and classmates, as well as the men and women who searched for her, Faye’s memory will never go away. For some, that’s the hardest part about the whole ordeal, they’ll never be able to forget. While they’d like to remember Faye as the smiling little girl she was for the six years she was alive, it was those last 3 days they’d like to shake from their minds. Each of these men and women have their own way of dealing with their grief and that in itself is a very private matter.

Recently though, a career law enforcement officer with decades of service and a Pelion area businessman got together and after a little thought, decided it might be nice for the children of the area to have something special to remember Faye by. Maybe a tangible item that would make them smile, enjoy their day a little more, and perhaps help them make new friends they could grow up with in innocence, the way a child deserves.

Because the businessman was in the steel detailing trade and owned a shop with employees and the tools needed to make intricate and beautiful things out of steel, the two began thinking of how they could put those resources to work and celebrate Faye’s life at the same time. Now after some hard work and a lot of thought, Major Chris Garner of the Springfield Police Department and Travis Crumpton of D&T Steel near Pelion, SC have designed, produced, and delivered three Buddy Benches to honor and celebrate the life of Faye Swetlik.

Buddy Benches are often put on school playgrounds and one made by D&T in honor of Faye was delivered to Springdale Elementary School recently. When a child wants a buddy to play with, they sit on the designated Buddy Bench. Hopefully, somewhere nearby, another child is also looking to play and sits on the Buddy Bench too. As children normally do, it doesn't take long for a conversation and then a friendship to blossom. Then, the two children can play together, a new “Buddy” found!

Of the three benches made, Faye’s family asked for one. As was said earlier, another was delivered to Springdale Elementary School, and the last was given to the Town of Springdale for their Benton Park, one Faye and lots of other children enjoyed visiting. It’s hoped that all three will be put to good use and lots of new “Buddies” will be made over the years.

Sure, there are other things that could be done to celebrate and remember little Faye’s life. Once you consider her and her love for playing outdoors, perhaps the Buddy Benches are the best way to go. Perhaps little Faye will be remembered by the laughter of children as they enjoy swings, slides, or play on a merry-go-round with their new buddies.

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Call Paul Kirby

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