Garth Brooks Lends a Helping Hand to Family in Need
The Christmas spirit is alive and well in Middle Tennessee, and especially in Garth Brooks. Not only did Garth raise more than $5 million in ticket sales of his nine concerts for The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to aid in flood relief efforts, but fans spent an estimated $10-15 million in downtown during the course of those shows. But that's not all the entertainer did to lend a helping hand to Middle Tennesseans this Christmas.
Garth also went one-on-one with a family in La Vergne, Tenn., when their house was broken into and they were robbed of the Christmas presents wrapped underneath the tree. The Jones family includes five-year-old Kirstin Jones, who said she had been careful about being extra good as she didn't want Santa to pass by her home.
"Every present we had under the tree was gone," Gloria Jones, a banquet server at the airport Radisson Hotel, told Nashville's Tennessean newspaper. "They took everything my husband and I got for each other. Every present we got for Kirstin. They just took Christmas.'' When a La Vergne police officer arrived to take the report, Kirstin told him she must have done something to upset Santa Claus. Kirstin's father, Randy, a cook at Merchants Restaurant in Nashville, and his wife had been saving for Christmas for months, and both worked extra hours to help pay for presents.
Co-workers who heard their story brought toys to work, and a friend of Garth's just so happened to be dining at Merchants and overheard the story. The friend, NFL Alumni Association member Ray Carolin, helped to bring in more than 14,000 toys for Garth's shows, which also doubled as a drop-off point for the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive. He decided to tell his friend about what took place last week.
When the superstar heard about Jones and his family, both he and Carolin invited Randy Jones to the Toys for Tots donations center to pick up toys for Kirstin. "Without the help of the community, it would have been a pretty sad Christmas," Randy Jones said. The family hope to pass it on to others in need by donating some of the extra toys they received.