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Real Faces WeCo Places banners a testament to the quality of the West Columbia community

The City of West Columbia, in 2021, began a campaign to celebrate the individuals, entrepreneurs, and businesses that make up the city’s sense of spirit and unity.

The Real Faces WeCo Places decorative pole banners were hoisted in the River District and Triangle City. More faces and places have been added over the years and will continue to be added annually.

The individuals, businesses, and places depicted on the banners are featured on a city-linked website with more information about their backgrounds. To see all of the WeCo Faces WeCo Faces banners and information, Go to: www.westcolumbiasc.gov/wecofacesplaces.

Rev. Kenneth Taylor graces a Real Faces banner on Meeting Street. He has served as the pastor of Turner Memorial AME Church for 17 years.

Rev. Kenneth Taylor

“It was an honor to be chosen to be on the Real Faces banner. I’m proud to be a part of it,” Taylor said. “I love West Columbia and the sense of community here. I love the diversity and the community spirit and everyone has a family attitude.”

West Columbia Mayor Tem Miles said the banners chronicle the lives of the people of West Columbia.

“I am so proud of the folks being honored on the WeCo Faces WeCo Places banners in Triangle City and in the River District,” Miles said. “These banners help tell the story of who we are and they exemplify the success of our city and each individual’s great contribution to it.”

Rob and Kathy Whetzel have owned Whetzel’s Automotive in West Columbia on Augusta Road for 25 years. The Whetzels said the people of West Columbia are family-oriented and grounded.

“There is a sense of unity,” said Kathy, “Everyone welcomes you, like one big family. They are not customers to me, they are family.”

There is a focus on the future leaders in the community, said Rob.

Kathy and Rob Whetzel

“Everyone is so supportive of the kids, the teams, and their accomplishments,” he said.

One of those children is Cameron Pringle. He is a fifth-grader at East Point Academy in West Columbia. He also plays football for the West Columbia Tigers Football Team. The team plays at the historic Lakeview High School’s football field behind the Brookland Lakeview Empowerment Center.

Cameron also plays basketball and baseball. His basketball team practices at Lakeview and plays its games at Brookland Baptist Church. Cameron plays youth baseball at Howard Park in the Cayce-West Columbia Baseball League. After the games, Cameron’s favorite place to eat is Zesto of West Columbia. He loves a Zesto ice cream cone.

Besides the warm atmosphere, West Columbia is a good place for entrepreneurs.

Chaye Alexander moved her business, Chayz Lounge, to 607 Meeting Street in West Columbia in 2019. She moved from Columbia. She was impressed with the process included in the move.

Chaye Alexander

Chaye said there was an ease in the job of renovating her building and getting licensed to open the doors. She also said she felt a sense of community vastly different from prior business dealings.

“West Columbia has a welcoming feeling like you are a part of something, she said.” Chaye also said West Columbia has such a feeling of community.

So there you have it. The Real Faces WeCo Places banners in West Columbia represent various members of a community that share a love and respect for each other and the city in which they live.

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