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Texas Police Officer in Need Receives Christmas Day Visit From Randy Travis

Randy Travis 2015 ACM Awards
Christopher Polk, Getty Images

Randy Travis helped make Christmas 2016 a little bit brighter for a police officer who recently lost everything in a house fire.

On Dec. 12, Gainesville, Texas, police officer Keith Bartlett, his wife and their five children lost their home in a fire, KXII-TV reports; in the weeks since, their community and Bartlett’s department have helped the family find a new place to live and replace what was lost — but the one big thing that hadn’t yet been replaced was Bartlett’s guitar, which was damaged beyond repair in the fire, according to KXAS-TV.

So, Travis, his wife Mary and Bartlett’s family and co-workers planned to surprise the avid guitar player for Christmas: On Christmas Day (Dec. 25), Bartlett responded to a (fake) call about a suspicious vehicle, and when he returned to the police station, the officer found Travis and his wife, as well as his own wife and kids, at the station, with a new acoustic guitar.

Bartlett met Travis a few years ago while on the job, when he helped with a theft case at Travis’ ranch in Cooke County. Officer Michael Green tells KXII that when the country icon learned of Bartlett’s story, he wanted to help out; KXAS reports that Travis also donated furniture to the Bartletts.

Since his stroke in 2013, Travis has been largely unable to speak (or sing); however, at a private funeral in early February and his Country Music Hall of Fame induction in mid-October, Travis surprised those in attendance by singing a bit of “Amazing Grace.” He also took part in the opening medley at the 2016 CMA Awards, and has made numerous appearances at concerts and other events.

On Feb. 8, an all-star lineup of acts will assemble at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena for 1 Night. 1 Place. 1 Time: A Heroes & Friends Tribute to Randy Travis. A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit the Randy Travis Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises money for stroke research and rehabilitation.

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