Sunday 1 February 2015

Kim Bielenberg: Country legend Garth Brooks served me dinner. It's like Johnny Cash mowing my lawn

Published 30/11/2012 | 16:21

Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood hold up a sign for Martin Molloy wishing O'Connell's GAA club good luck in Sunday's Leinster club intermediate final. Photo: Dennis Horgan
Garth Brooks plays to Irish and international volunteers at their camp south of Port-au-Prince

Life has some odd twists and turns, but I never thought Garth Brooks would be serving me dinner in Haiti.

It’s a bit like having Johnny Cash mowing your lawn, or Dolly Parton running you a bath.

Garth has been staying at our camp for the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work project in Haiti. He is joining volunteers from the Irish charity Haven and the international group Habitat for Humanity. They are building 100 houses south of Port-au-Prince.

I have to admit that I didn’t recognise Garth when he deftly spooned out the main course as I queued in the dinner tent, and I urged him to “throw on a few more spuds”.

I was then taken aside and told who this humble server was.

I am not Garth’s greatest fan as a performer, but I now admire him as an individual and as a philanthropist. This week he was building a house for a Haitian family with his wife Trisha Yearwood, another country star.

The American volunteers were reticent about approaching him to pose for pictures back in our camp, but the Irish showed no such reserve, and chatted away to him.

The affable star stood there for almost an hour posing and signed anything that came to hand for volunteers from the four corners of Ireland.

Army chef Martin Molloy, who helped with the cooking in the camp, even persuaded him to hold up a sign sending best wishes to O'Connell's GAA club from Louth in Sunday's Leinster football final.

They’ll surely win now.

*Haven is seeking donations. For more information:

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