Galax High School kicks off fundraiser to honor graduate who died in the line of duty

Deputy Curtis Bartlett died March 9 in a vehicle pursuit

By Jessica Jewell - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

GALAX, Va. - Galax High School is raising money to honor former student, Army veteran and Carroll County Deputy Curtis Bartlett.

Bartlett was killed when he collided with a tractor-trailer during a chase back in March.

"Curtis believed that if a citizen needed your help, it would be a crying shame not to be in good enough shape to go help them," Bartlett's father, Sam, said.

His father said that's where his passion for fitness began and he used it to inspire others with videos on social media and on websites like Bodybuilding.com.

Bartlett graduated from Galax High School in the early 2000s. Now his alma mater is raising money to build a state-of-the-art fitness center in his honor.

"The facility is just small for the middle and high school students who work out in here," Sam Bartlett said.

The goal is to raise $650,000 by February. If they do, BodyBuilding.com said it will donate $500,000 worth of equipment.

"I really believe, just like Curtis was kind of a bigger than life person that we can accomplish a goal that's bigger than ourselves," Sam Bartlett said.

It would be open to first responders and students, who are helping raise money.

"They say we want to run faster and we want to tackle harder and they think that this fitness center will help," Galax High School teacher Emily Brown said.

Brown said this is the least she can do for Bartlett, who helped her son when he was diagnosed with leukemia at just 4 years old.

"Several of the men in our family shaved their head when his hair started coming out, and Curtis was in Afghanistan at the time and I got pictures from Curtis where he had also shaved his head, but he was overseas. He and his team flew a flag in honor of Max over Baghdad. It's my favorite gift we've ever gotten," Brown said.

Curtis Bartlett's father said this facility is the perfect way to honor his son's legacy.

"There’s part of me that maybe hopes and believes that he does see what's happening. I think he would be proud of his community. Proud of those who have come together for this to take place and he would be pushing us to the limit," Sam Bartlett said.

Click here to learn more about the campaign and find out how to donate.

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