The Coolie Myrick Foundation 14th Annual Back to School Drive kicked off in unique fashion Saturday morning at Pitt Street Park.

“Y’all already know how Coolie is. Y’all already know how Coolie is. Look to the sky — Mr. Willie Benjamin ‘Coolie’ Myrick,” Sharro Usry-Wilson, coordinator for the event, proclaimed as Kool and the Gang’s ‘Celebration’ played over speakers while a red helicopter circled and landed on the ballfield.

Myrick arrived at the event in a helicopter flown by local businessman Benji Cranford. He soon began sharing advice with the young people.

“There is no way possible that this could even be possible without a good team and a support system behind it,” Myrick said.

This year’s theme is “You’ve got to see it when no one else does,” he explained.

“For 10 years I had to sit in a cell for a decision I made. My message to the kids is, your decisions determine your destiny,” Myrick told them. “Whatever decisions you make today determines what happens to you tomorrow.”

He told the children to stay focused and listen to their parents and their peers and make sure they make the right choices in life.

“Do the right thing. You sleep good, you live good, and life will be good for you,” he added.

Myrick told the audience that kids are growing up now in a different time facing more gangs and different types of drugs than when he was younger.

“Stick with people that believe in you, that will motivate you, encourage you to stay on the right track knowing that the right road is not always easy,” he urged. “You’ve got the power to change your life. If you make a bad decision, own up to it, reassess yourself, and do things different and come back,” he said. “Be like a basketball. The harder it falls, the higher it bounces back.”

The day’s events included activities and games for the children, presentation of awards for volunteers, an assortment of school-related giveaways, and food.