To country stars Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, the sound of a saw scraping back and forth or the steady pounding of a hammer is music to their ears. These committed volunteers have given their time to Habitat for over a decade, raising awareness about the work we do and raising spirits of fellow volunteers along the way.
How’d it start?
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood first volunteered with Habitat in New Orleans, working to repair the devastating path of destruction Hurricane Katrina left in its wake. The couple helped construct the 1,000th and 1,001st post-hurricane homes on the Gulf Coast.
Yearwood candidly shared that their first time on a Habitat build was a way to “do some press and to swing a hammer for a minute,” but they ended up staying the entire day.
It’s an easy feeling to get hooked on, knowing your work is making a tangible difference in the lives of local families.
Brooks described how easy it is for one hour of building a Habitat home to turn into a lifelong “must” to stay involved.
Why they choose to continue
For Brooks, it’s a matter of the love that goes into the construction of a Habitat home.
“It’s just one of those things that no matter how much you give, you get more out of it,” said Brooks.
The couple also thinks of these build projects as an activity that keeps their bond strong. Married for the past 13 years, Brooks and Yearwood cite their secret to success as spending time together. As a duo that works well together, whether they’re performing or volunteering, Brooks humbly insists that the work is made much easier with a partner like Yearwood by his side.
Looking to the future
Brooks and Yearwood have worked closely with the Carters throughout their time volunteering with Habitat. Most recently, the couple participated in the 35th-annual Carter Work Project build, marking their 10th build working side-by-side with the former-president and first lady.
Alongside dedicated Habitat volunteers, this project built and repaired 41 homes.
After the week-long build was completed, there was a ceremonial handing over of the keys. Brooks and Yearwood had the opportunity to witness a special moment when Jimmy Carter turned the keys over to a family that had been working tirelessly alongside volunteers all week.
The mother of the family didn’t tell her children why they were helping to construct this home. That was left to the Carters.
When they called the children forward, Rosalynn Carter asked whether they knew who the house was for. When they said they didn’t know, Jimmy Carter struggled to get out the words “it’s your house.”
Watching the former president become so emotional was a moment that moved Brooks and Yearwood deeply and reinforced their admiration for the hardworking and dedicated couple.
When the Carters were asked about their eventual retirement, Jimmy Carter mentioned Brooks and Yearwood as a team he’d like to see fill their shoes.
“No one will ever replace them. But if the time comes where they want to swing the hammer a little bit less and want us to swing it a little bit more, then we would be happy to do that,” said Yearwood.
Lessons learned from Habitat
For this tool-belt-wearing and hammer-swinging duo, Habitat’s work all comes down to love.
“The thousands of volunteers… come from all walks of life, different viewpoints, different backgrounds. Everybody is all about love. If love is the center of your purpose, then you’re going to get along. That’s a big message if we could learn that in the world. But in this Habitat world, it’s a beautiful thing.”
– Trisha Yearwood
“At some point, you have to stop and just listen. The hammering of these hundreds and hundreds of hammers and you know what they’re doing, they’re building love, man. And it’s the greatest feeling on the planet.”
– Garth Brooks
Become involved with Habitat HMD and see for yourself the love we put into our work. Sign-up to volunteer in under 30 minutes here.
See which build projects Habitat HMD is working on here.