By David Broyles
A six-year old Gladeville Elementary student intends to carry on the late Carroll County Sheriff’s Deputy Curtis Bartlett’s motto of “live inspired.” Bentley Anderson and his mother, Heather Ring, visited the Department on March 27 to meet with Bartlett’s fellow officers.
The shy little boy held a well-worn shopping bag containing ribbons and key chains for the officers. He and his mother said the proceeds from the sale of ribbons would go to Bartlett’s family, earmarked for police fitness. As of last week, Anderson had raised $450 with some outstanding donations from ribbons mailed out of state. Ring said they had made 500 ribbons.
Anderson became acquainted with Bartlett when he was a School Resource Officer (SRO) and his visits to the school after being re-assigned to duty in the field. Ring said her son felt a sense of security when he would see Bartlett and his dog, “Tyco,” walking the school grounds.
“He hadn’t been an SRO there for a while but if you know Curtis, you know he was going to check up on people. It all started when he heard Curtis was in a really bad car wreck and was gone,” said Ring. “I explained it to him the best way I knew how. (She told him) He’s not around and we won’t be able to see him anymore until later on. He told me, mommy we have to make ribbons for our class. We made some for his classroom and then we posted it on Facebook. It went viral. He asked me if we could just keep making them and selling them for a dollar and all the proceeds will go to Curtis’ family and towards police fitness.”
They said they were surprised when Ring’s Facebook posting went viral and the requests for ribbons came pouring in. He also visited the courthouse on March 27 with his few remaining ribbons. He gave the K9 lanyards to the department.
“I thinked of it. I thought of it because of the dog (Tyco).” said Bentley “I saw him in February walking his dog and he looked like, ‘What?’ (surprised but pleased to see Bentley).” Ring said Bentley wanted to come and visit the officers who worked with Bartlett and Sheriff Gardener let him.
“When I got the message that morning after we posted it I cried. I thought Oh my God. I got emotional. I couldn’t believe how much the word got out there. All we did was post a picture on Facebook of what he had made. It was one day. We made them Sunday night and took them to school Monday morning and people wanted to buy them. I bought out WalMart. I did. They were completely out (of materials) by the time we went to key chains.”
Previously, Ring said she had made ribbons in school for projects and class credit. This was the most they had ever done. They look to transition from here with helping others helping them. The next special project for the six-year old is in his room. The word “hero” is hung on the wall with a badge forming the letter ‘o.’ A flag signed by the Department will be hung on the wall. Bentley has chosen pictures of Bartlett and Tyco to hang there.
“He’s calling it his honorary wall. He can wake up every morning, see it and think Curtis wants me to do this today so I’m going to do it. Like Curtis always said. His motto was live inspired,” Ring said. “He can say Curtis wants me to live inspired today and I’m going to have a good day.”
Bentley said he did 122 push-ups as part of a challenge with Curtis, reflecting Bartlett’s badge number. (He saw the challenge on Facebook).
“I did 50 and the next day I did some more,” said Anderson, who finished the challenge in three days to honor Bartlett. Ring said Anderson loved it when Bartlett brought the dog in and walked with them. Anderson said got to play recently with Tyco. Mom’s keeping the visits to every two weeks. She said he is working through missing his friend, Bartlett.
Anderson said wants to be a police officer with a dog (and not a coyote). He says he is a dog person and enjoys their company. Sheriff Gardener thanked the duo for stopping by and meeting with the Department and commended Anderson for doing an awesome thing for others.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.