Gainesville officer who lost home to fire gets Christmas surprise from Randy Travis
GAINESVILLE, Texas (KXII) -- Two weeks ago, a Gainesville police officer and his family lost their home to a fire, but while he was working Christmas day, a famous country singer stepped in to help.
After the fire, the community quickly came together, making sure all five kids had gifts to open for Christmas, but now their dad, officer Keith Bartlett, got a Christmas surprise as well.
"I cried," Bartlett said. "It was an amazing surprise, amazing surprise."
Officer Bartlett, his wife and five kids lost nearly everything in the fire, including his two guitars.
"At first you realize everything's gone as a whole, but then you start thinking of the little things," Bartlett said.
"And I told him Christmas is right around the corner, maybe we can figure out a way to get you one," Gainesville Police Officer Michael Green said.
Music is Bartlett's passion.
While at work Christmas day, he was sent out on a call, but after a short time, dispatch called it off 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.
That call was fake. It was an excuse to buy some time to work on the surprise -- family, fellow officers and country legend Randy Travis were all waiting for him to return.
"When Randy found out about this tragedy, Randy wanted to help him out," Officer Green said.
Bartlett actually met Travis years ago when he worked a theft case from their ranch in Cooke County. When Travis heard about what happened, he decided to surprise him with a visit and buy him a new guitar.
"I turned around and my son Kyle was walking in with a brand new Epiphone Masterbilt guitar that is absolutely beautiful," Bartlett said.
"We were all very surprised and excited for him and to see Randy," Bartlett's son Kyle said.
They said after Bartlett's 14 years of service to their community, it was an honor to now serve him.
"We are extremely blessed with everybody helping us," Bartlett said. "My sergeant, the whole department, strangers."
"Thank you for all the departments and the families that pitched in with all these blessings they have given us," his son Kyle said.
Bartlett played his guitar every day until that fire, but now it's a passion he can continue, thanks to Travis.