GALAX, Va. (WDBJ7) People in Southwest Virginia are remembering the Carroll County deputy who lost his life this year, with a campaign to build a special memorial.
Galax High School, Deputy Curtis Bartlett's alma mater, is trying to raise $650,000 by February 2018 to build an all new weight room facility in his honor.
If that's achieved, the website bodybuilding.com, which Deputy Bartlett did work with, will donate $500,000 worth of equipment to the gym.
Deputy Bartlett's family was continuing his work to provide fitness opportunities to police officers and military members, which is called Police Fitness.
That's how they got involved with bodybuilding.com's Lift Life Foundation.
It's especially appropriate since his father, Sam Bartlett, just found blueprints for a gym Curtis wanted to build Monday morning.
Bartlett explained, "He wanted to build a fitness center and open it up to law enforcement officers and first responders free of charge. He never was able to fulfill this dream, but maybe if people can contribute and give to our capital campaign, we would be able to realize that passion that he had."
The foundation usually fixes up weight rooms. But the Galax High School weight room is too run down, so the campaign will build a new facility.
"Curtis Bartlett was the epitome of health and fitness," the Lift Life Foundation said in a press release. "Saddened to learn of his passing when he was killed in the line of duty, Lift Life was put in touch with Curtis’ father, Sam, by RSP Nutrition. Sam was already in the process of forming the Police Fitness Foundation for Curtis, and with both foundations excited at the prospect of paying tribute to Curtis by renovating his high school weight room in his honor, they teamed up to make the dream a reality."
It was all announced during halftime of Friday's football game against Carroll County, so all the kids could know.
Emily Brown is a teacher at Galax High School and a member of the fundraising team.
She said of the students, "They are very excited to have a facility that they can all stand in at the same time and work out at the same time. Hopefully they can look up to Curtis and try and make an impact on their community like Curtis did."
And some are already making an impact!
"We have seniors that are doing senior projects to help raise money," Brown said. "We have several kids who are helping to design the website, we have a web design class and those kids made the website."
The facility will go where the practice field is at the school and will be named for Deputy Bartlett, something his family is honored to know.
"It's more than a father or a mother or brothers and sisters could ask for," Sam Bartlett said. "It touches our heart that the community is so much behind this and so passionate."
Curtis's father noted his son's badge number was 122. If people were to donate $122 each, it would take 5,328 people to raise the money.
To learn more about the campaign or donate to it, click here.
Checks can also be written to Galax Public High School, with "Fit to Serve" written in the Memo line.
Any further questions about the campaign can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org