Beyond the Bus blog logo

A Legacy of Compassion

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Categories: Community, Employees

Two men standing next to each other

Jason (left) with brother Jeremy (right).

It’s a gift when your co-workers feel like family.

It can be an even greater gift when your co-workers are your family.

“Jason and I worked side-by-side for eight years,” CATA bus driver Jeremy Baragar said about his younger brother.

Jeremy will mark his 20-year anniversary with CATA in October.

Jason never will.

In 2014, while riding his motorcycle after work, Jason was hit by a driver who never saw him coming. He was killed.

Jason’s family knew he was a registered organ donor, and he was able to donate his heart, his liver and both kidneys; he saved the lives of four men.

“Jay just loved to help people,” Jeremy said. “He was always there for people. He could smooth anything out.”

The Holt Community Foundation, a non-profit started by Dr. John Girdwood, teamed up with Jeremy to start the Jason Baragar Memorial Shootout. The event allows Jeremy to honor his brother while supporting the tightknit community they grew up in.

This year’s event will be held on April 20, and it will benefit both the Holt Pop-up Pantry, which helps students who are in need of food, toiletries or other necessities, and the Holt Varsity Baseball team. The current coach, Keith Allen, was lifelong friend and former teammate of Jason.

“I’m just trying to fulfill needs like he would have,” Jeremy said.

The daylong event features a 16-team tournament bracket, trophies and T-shirts. Last year’s event raised $7,000 for the pop-up pantry. And from the beginning, CATA has been the title sponsor.

“CATA has always been so good to me; so good to us,” Jeremy said. “Before Jason’s accident, a longtime driver died of cancer. So, CATA created a memorial wall to honor people who died during their service there.”

“They’ve been such a huge support to me and my family. The former CEO even gave Jason’s eulogy.”

Jeremy said the fact that Jason also worked at CATA has helped keep his brother’s memory alive when he’s at work.

“We speak about him a lot. It was a blessing to work next to Jay for eight years and have an employer who really supports me,” Jeremy said. “And the fact that they’re helping me do good for my community in his name means a lot.”

Baragar family viewing CATA's memorial wall 

The Baragar family viewing CATA's memorial wall in 2015. 

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Theme picker

Submit your story

We want to hear from you! Share your story about a great ride, a driver that went above and beyond or how CATA helps you get around the community for a chance to be featured in a future blog post.

If you have a customer experience question or concern, please use our Contact Us form or call us directly at 517-394-1000.

Subscribe to blog updates