Oconee Co. mother pleads for vandalism to stop at her son’s memorial bench


WEST UNION, SC (WSPA) – A mother is pleading to the community to stop vandalizing a memorial bench for her seven year old son who died in a car accident in 2016.

The West Union Town Park was one of Cash Johnson’s favorite places to be with his parents. Now three years after his death, his little brother, who he never met, plays on the same pieces of equipment.

“Everything that he does reminds me of Cash when he was that age,” Carolina McGraw, Cash’s mother said.

McGraw said it was a Saturday in July of 2016 when her airbag alert in her car went off and they crashed into an embankment. 

“Cash said, ‘I love you mama’ and I said, ‘I love you buddy,’” McGraw said.

On Friday, she sits at his memorial bench cherishing those last words from her first grader.

The bench was a gift from the Town of West Union to honor Cash’s memory.

“I didn’t realize the impact he had in his short seven years on the community,” McGraw said.

Twice this summer, the community has discovered the bench in pieces with the granite top ripped off the legs. Each time, the town paid to fix it, but they want the vandalism to stop.

“They just don’t know there are people behind that bench. It’s not just a piece of furniture, there’s a family, there’s a little boy,” McGraw said.

The town said they’ll have to move the bench if the damage happens again so the family is looking for other locations, but hope to keep it in his park.

“There’s not many things in the world that still have the feeling of Cash, but that bench is one of them,” McGraw said.

Through the years, Cash’s parents have followed and supported his classmates as they made their way through Walhalla Elementary School. This year, he’d be in the 5th grade and traveling to Washington D.C. for the big class trip.

The trip costs roughly $500 per student, a cost that Cash’s parents said they would have struggled with if he was here today so they wanted to send Cash to D.C. by raising money to make sure each of his classmates have the chance to go.

“We’ve donated what we could, but we can’t afford every child so we are hoping the community will help us, help these students in Cash’s memory,” McGraw said.

You can find the link for their fundraising on GoFundMe or social media under “Send Cash Johnson to Washington!”

If you know anything about the vandalism, you can call the West Union Police Department at 864-638-9099.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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