Randy Travis Helps Gainesville Officer Keith Bartlett Who Lost Home In Fire
Randy Travis Gets Guitar For Officer Keith Bartlett
Gainesville, Texas – Officer Keith Bartlett of the Gainesville, Texas Police Department had a magical Christmas after a tragic house fire a few weeks ago. Music legend Randy Travis made a special stop to surprise Officer Bartlett with a brand new guitar during his shift on Christmas Day.
Two weeks ago, on December 12th 2016, Officer Keith Bartlett, his wife and five children, lost their home and all of their belongings in a house fire just weeks before Christmas and everything the family owned was gone. The police department and members of the community rallied together to make sure the kids had presents on Christmas. Officer Bartlett also lost some of his most prized possessions, including his two guitars. Before the fire, Officer Bartlett played his guitar every day. “At first you realize everything’s gone as a whole, but then you start thinking of the little things,” Officer Bartlett said.
Fellow Gainesville Police Officer Michael Green spoke to Bartlett about the loss of his guitars. “And I told him Christmas is right around the corner, maybe we can figure out a way to get you one.” Green had been in contact with music legend Randy Travis after the fire. “When Randy found out about the tragedy, Randy wanted to help him out.” The country music icon showed up to present Officer Bartlett with a brand new guitar on Christmas.
Working his shift on Christmas Day, Officer Bartlett was attending to business as usual. All in good fun, the officer was dispatched on a suspicious vehicle run, as an excuse to buy a little time setting up the surprise. Fellow officers, family and of course Randy Travis and his wife Mary, were all setting stage at the police department for the big surprise. Officer Bartlett’s call was canceled and he returned to the station. “Then they all turned around and looked at me when I was walking in, I thought, ‘what’s going on?” Bartlett said. “I turned around and my son Kyle was walking in with brand new Epiphone Masterbilt guitar that is absolutely beautiful…I cried. It was an amazing surprise, amazing surprise.”
Along with the new guitar, was a visit from Randy Travis himself. Recovering from a stroke, Randy and Bartlett exchanged hugs from the superstar’s wheelchair while their wives stood by. Mary knows first hand the healing effects of music during times of difficulty. When they heard about the fire and the loss of Bartlett’s prized Gibson guitar, she knew just what to do. She called Gibson and relayed the story. Without hesitation they overnighted a brand new Gibson, just like the one lost in the fire, to North Texas just in time for a Christmas Day surprise for Officer Bartlett.
As fate would have it, Officer Bartlett and Randy Travis had met years earlier when Bartlett worked a theft case at their ranch in Cooke County. When Travis heard about the fire and the officer involved, he wanted to visit him and buy him a new guitar. “Surprised isn’t even the word for it. These are amazing people,” Bartlett said of the Travis family.
“We are extremely blessed with everybody helping us. My sergeant, the whole department, strangers.” Officer Bartlett and his family have been overcome with gratitude at the outpouring of generosity toward him and his family after the fire. “Thank you for all of the departments and the families that pitched in with all these blessings they have given us,” Bartlett’s son Kyle said. Randy and Mary spent some time at the department with Officer Bartlett, his family and fellow Gainesville officers during their Christmas shift, while Bartlett strummed on his new guitar.
Many material items were lost in the fire, items that Officer Bartlett and his family will continue to rebuild. Thanks to the kindness of their community, fellow officers and country music legend Randy Travis, hope was not lost in this tragedy. We salute you Randy Travis for coming alongside this officer and his family during such a difficult time.
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