On July 6th, friends and family of the late Amy Cortez congregated at the Folly Boat to paint a memorial and pay their respects, but their tribute only stood for a total of 17 minutes before it was painted over by the James Island Charter High School class of 2016.
Cortez, an honored combat medic and much-loved advocate for the homeless, died after a courageous battle against a rare form of cancer. The painting on the Folly Boat featured an incredibly life-like portrait of Cortez and messages of love and sympathy from hundreds. “Amy loved the beach, and when she wasn’t serving overseas or handing out sandwiches in tent city, she was riding her bike to Folly,” said sister Melinda Cortez-Matthes. “We shared stories while we painted, held hands and said a prayer, surrounded it with flowers, and released a dove. The pastor from her church came out and blessed it. I’m so glad that people will drive by and see how amazing she was and how much she was loved.”
Approximately 17 minutes after Cortez’s mourners had left the site, a 2006 Chevy pick-up carrying 11 recent high school graduates, carrying a plastic bag full of spray paint cans purchased at Lowes and a 24-pack of “rodeo cool” Coors, pulled up to the scene. They wasted no time, spray painting messages such as “JICHS Class of ‘16… INCHES,” “We Run This Shit,” and “YOLO,” with the addition of a crudely-drawn Bart Simpson urinating on a wildcat logo, representing West Ashley High School. “Dude, it was so awesome,” David “D. Nuts” Nichols said, “We made that boat our bitch, brah. Just straight-up crushed it. Mikey punched a stupid dove right in its face!”