Greatness was recognized in Chester Monday night. A park was named for a hero, La’Darious Wylie, and a little girl who is alive today clapped for the brother who died saving her.
Her brother’s picture covered her shirt. In the picture, La’Darious smiled.
“He is in heaven,” said Sha’Vonta McCrorey, 7 years old. “My brother’s name was La’Darious. La’Darious Wylie. I miss him. He saved his baby sister.”
Sha’Vonta was asked who that sister is.
“That’s me,” she said.
La’Darious pushed Sha’Vonta out of the way of a hit-and-run car when the kids were waiting near their home for the school bus Oct. 27. The car hit La’Darious and he died the next day. His mother donated his organs so that other kids could live, too.
That’s why almost 100 of La’Darious family members packed the Chester City Council chambers Monday to hear the talk about naming a city park for him. There was no seat for Sha’Vonta, so she sat on her grandfather’s lap.
She smiled some of the time. Her face lit up the room. All eyes were on her. Then when talk turned to her brother, she was a little bit sad as a sister can be when her brother died saving her. Many people in that council room saw her, and cried at the possibilities of life in her face that smiled and was sad, too.
Finally the standing-room-only crowd clapped for a unanimous vote so popular that the politicians on the council raced to be the one to give the second and vote “yes.” The Chester city park in the Brooklyn neighborhood where La’Darious and his siblings played will be called forever “La’Darious Wylie Park of Brooklyn.”
City Councilman Carlos Williams, a cousin to La’Darious’ mother, made the motion to name the park. Not because La’Darious is his cousin, but because he showed Chester, and South Carolina, and America, what a hero is.
La’Darious’ heroism has received nationwide attention, and Williams said the city by acting quickly can show America that Chester knows a hero when it sees one.
“The whole country is watching,” Williams said. “We should do this.”
All the other council members, without any dissent, agreed.
“It’s an honor to do this,” said council member Linda Tinker. “He sacrificed his life for his sister.”
In the council chambers, La’Darious’ family members clapped and some cried. His mother, Elizabaeth McCrorey, sat quietly as the people all said that the son she raised is an example for all sons everywhere.
“I am so proud,” McCrorey said afterward.
La’Darious’ father, Carlos Wylie, was emotional, and grateful, that Chester would honor his son who did something so courageous.
“My son showed greatness,” Carlos Wylie said.
The park will have all-new equipment – paid for by a South Carolina business, Palmetto State Armory, whose owners read about La’Darious’ courage and heroism in The Herald and wanted to help.
When the family spilled out of the meeting hall, many held hands and hugged each other. Sha’Vonta McCrorey, the sister saved by La’Darious, was hugged by so many.
“I’m glad he was my brother, and I’m glad he saved my life,” Sha’Vonta said afterward.
All hugged her and said how proud they are of La’Darious Wylie. A kid, 11, who died a hero yet will never be forgotten as generations of kids who play in the park that bears his name.
Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065