Every Wednesday, Cynthia Byrd heads to the Children’s Room at the Richland Library. But she’s not there to check out books or attend a storytime. The mother of three simply walks to a tree at the edge of Maurice Sendak’s Wild Things mural and spends a few quiet moments remembering her son.
Rooted in its limbs are the memories of a child who spent Saturday mornings at the library with his brother and sister, a child who was eager to learn and child who was passionate about his community.
But Brandon Byrd’s tragic death in March of 2007 wasn’t the end of his journey. Brandon’s legacy has been reborn through his family’s cultivation and support of the Richland Library. Together, they found that the best way to grieve was to honor Brandon’s community spirit and love of the library.
Shortly after Brandon’s passing, the family committed themselves to raising money to dedicate the tree in the Children’s Room as well as a meeting room at their community library—Richland Library St. Andrews.
Currently spread between Atlanta, GA and Columbia and Lander, SC, the Byrds began working together to plan fundraisers like an annual fashion and talent show. After hearing their story, community donations of every amount from $1 to $500 came pouring in to honor Brandon. In time, they met their donation goal of $17,500 for the library.
“Our mission is to remember Brandon and help others in the community. What better way is there than helping the library?” said Byrd. “You can see the money put right back into the community through their programming, computers and other resources.”
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