“Our Hero” Cornelius Fairley Gets Heartwarming Gift From His Community

Published 9:49 am Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Cornelius Fairley, the six-year-old child who is being called “Our Hero” by many, received a heartwarming gift on Tuesday, March 7 at the Crosby Commons park. If you had heard something out of the movie Whiplash around 5:30 p.m. at the park or the sounds of drums wailing like the Drum line movie, that was Cornelius and his favorite superhero Batman on the drums.

Before we get to why Cornelius and Batman were playing the drums, let’s hit at why Cornelius is considered “Our Hero.”


Cornelius’s mother, Cornissia Fairley, 28 is battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer and had been developing focal seizures. On Feb. 11, 2023, Mrs. Fairley experienced a seizure in their Picayune home. When this occurs, Cornelius was taught by his mother and grandparent how to contact 911 and described the situation. He did exactly that and police and medical staff responded swiftly. An ambulance was able to arrive, evaluate and take Mrs. Fairley to a hospital.


For his heroism, Cornelius lead the Mardi Gras Parade in Picayune the following afternoon with Police Chief James Bolton and the Police Department. He was also honored at the Tuesday, Feb. 13 City Council meeting by his grandparents, Mayor Jim Luke, and his Principal at West Side Elementary Kim Hart. But it didn’t stop there. Two Picayune Officers, Kristi Boyd and John Saltarelli along with others had an increasable idea for Cornelius.


“Cornelius’ case is so special in the way he saved his mom’s life. He’s a hero, he’s his mom’s hero, he’s our hero,” spoke Saltarelli. Through an article released by WLOX, Saltarelli learned that Cornelius loves to play the drums, wanted a new drum set, and quoted his favorite hero as Batman.

“I actually remember seeing his little drum set in the closet the night we put him mom into bed, and it stuck with me, that this is the right thing to do,” said Saltarelli.


Saltarelli’s goal knowing Mrs. Fairley’s situation and that her time is very limited, he wanted to ensure one special moment for the two of them. Officer Kristi Boyd has been around Cornelius since that 911 call.

“He did amazing on the phone with the 911 operator, he gave them all the information that was needed, and he stayed on the phone until we arrived,” said Boyd.

Boyd could tell he was a very intelligent child, she said he knew what was going on with his mom and was able to explain everything.

“Highly intelligent for his age I think, but he’s a special young man to me and I’ve been able to bond with him a little bit. I held him up in the parade and he had a great time. This is just one more effort to show him that he’s our hero. Batman may be his but Cornelius is ours,” stated Boyd.

Now, Cornelius had no clue he was getting a new drum set, in his mind he thought he was just going to play his drums at the park. He walked up the backstage with officer Boyd, Officer Saltarelli, and his grandparents, Cornelia Andrews and Cedric Andrew. Long and behold he saw two drum sets and Batman holding a brand new set of sticks, as a gesture to giving his own new drum set.

Cornelius was ecstatic, he played loud and proud that night.

The drum set was donated by Christy Music, of Slidell, LA, and was freshly expressed shipped from Chicago, IL. Owner of Christy Music, Sean Murray said they receive a call from the Picayune PD and was told the entire store. Murray was fully on board saying “we’re big on community support. For us to do something like this for him was awesome.”

Christy Music was also able to stamp the Batman signal and Cornelius’s nickname Bubba on the kickstand.

The man behind the mask was none other than, the Bag of Donuts Band and lead drummer, Kevin George, who already had a Batman costume and was more than willing to donate his time to meeting a hero.


Cornelius is reaching a hard time in his life; fortunately, the Picayune community with no hesitation has come to blanket him with support. Cornelius’s grandparents and other relatives were in attendance. Mrs. Fairley was able to FaceTime during the entire surprise and playing of his new drum set.

Grandmother Cornelia Andrews said she felt grateful that everyone involved thought enough of him, and honored him and his wish for his own drum set.

“I’m forever grateful,” she stated. “He’s definitely a loving and caring young boy and guess what, he’s is a hero.”

Mrs. Andrews said Cornelius has played the drums ever since he was little; he’d always get pencils, sticks, or whatever he could bang together on to make a beat. Rather it was on the floor or in the car he was also playing.


Grandfather Cedric Andrews, while watching his grandson solo his drum set, felt overjoyed, and thankful for what he’s done and the extra effort the community had done to show support and make him feel special.


“He’s a kind-hearted young man, he works hard, tries to do his best to be a people person and he is, he really don’t meet no strangers,” Cedric joyfully laughed. “He’s just a good-hearted kid who loves the lord and loves people.”


After Cornelius tired himself out to what felt like a VIP concert, he looked to everyone and he was being held up on Batman’s shoulders, and said, “Thank you, everybody,”