Strangers from across the globe donate to Cara Holley bench - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Strangers from across the globe donate to Cara Holley bench

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Bench dedicated to Cara Holley. Bench dedicated to Cara Holley.

SALEM (WSLS) -- The kindness of strangers is making a difference for the family of a murdered teen in Roanoke County.

Cara Holley was killed in 2010 by a classmate.

People from across the globe heard about Holley's tragic story and wanted to help.

An online campaign was started to raise $2,500 for a butterfly bench.

Thelma Holderness is the one who led the charge and flew in from Illinois just to see the memorial.

"Unfortunately, even the ones who aren't family, like myself, are now part of a bond and a family that we never would sign on for, but absolutely have to be together and stand together," Thelma Holderness said.

Holderness doesn't know the Holley family, but was touched by tragedy in her own community. College student Toni Keller was brutally murdered the same year Holley was killed.

Keller also has a bench dedicated in her honor.

People from Texas and even the U.K. pitched in to raise the money.  The butterfly bench sits at the Salem VA for veterans to enjoy. 

Holley's father Michael Holley has worked at the Salem VA for more than 30 years and says it's a perfect place for his daughter's memory to be honored.

"I get to see it every day that I come to work. It means so much, it reminds me of Cara," father Michael Holley says. 

While, mother Lisa Cowling, says she knows Cara would be happy to know she's helping other people.


"It's just amazing. It's amazing that Cara reached across the country and brought this here. It touches my heart too, I can't thank them enough," mother Lisa Cowling says.

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