ATLANTA — While most 10-year-olds are playing games outside, Willie Myrick is spreading the Word of God. And it was this Word, uttered through song, that probably saved Willie’s life.
Willie endured a person’s — and a parent’s — worst nightmare when he was kidnapped in front of his home a year ago. But because Willie sang the song “Every Praise” nonstop for hours, he frustrated his kidnapper and would-be killer to the point that he dropped young Willie off, unharmed, in neighboring East Point, Ga.
The miraculous story of near-tragedy-turned-triumph that inspired tens of thousands of people across the nation and he was awarded the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s first-ever “Junior Newsmaker of the Year” award at the Atlanta Voice headquarters near downtown Atlanta. Willie will be officially bestowed an honor at the NNPA’s Torch Awards dinner during Black Press Week in Washington, D.C. on March 26.
During a church service at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, Willie recounted the horrifying ordeal of being snatched up by a predator — and the moment he was freed from the kidnapper’s car.
Willie said the man pulled up in a gray Honda Accord and immediately grabbed the pre-teen. When Willie tried to yell, he covered his mouth and put him the locked car.
Willie told reporters that he felt that he was going to be “hurt bad.” However, Willie’s fear soon gave way to faith in the form of a gospel song he learned at church.
“Every praise is to our God, every word of worship is to our God. Every praise, every praise is to our God,” he sang.
He began singing it in the back seat of the kidnapper’s car without stopping.
Willie said while he was singing “Every Praise”, the man kept cursing and telling him to shut up before eventually kicking him out of the car without a scratch on him.
Community leaders held a special meeting in Willie’s honor to celebrate his faith and love of God that directly led to his freedom, but also to implore parents and children to be ever vigilant as well as telling them what to do if this happens to them.
“He opened the door and threw me out,” Willie said. “He told me not to tell anyone.”
Willie’s story traveled fast and soon caught the ear of Grammy Award-winning gospel singer Hezekiah Walker — the man who performed the song.
“It’s just emotional to me because you never know who you’re going to touch,” Walker told Atlanta’s 11 Alive.
Walker was so inspired and touched by the boy’s miraculous escape from certain death that he flew to Atlanta to meet Willie.
“I just wanted to hug him and tell him I love him,” Walker told the news station. “I really believe that God spoke through me to save that young man’s life,” Walker said.
Unfortunately, the kidnapper who abducted Willie has not been caught. Police have released a sketch and are asking anyone with any information to call CrimeStoppers at 404-577-TIPS.