YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Country star Brantley Gilbert is a fan of both veterans and farmers. So, before his concert Friday night, he said the chance to bring in food that’s grown locally and by men and women who serve was an honor.
Since the beginning of the year, Gilbert has been bringing local veteran farmers to his concerts to taste their food as a way of giving back to support the Farmer Veteran Coalition.
“God gave me a whole lot more spotlight and platform than I ever asked for and any chance we get to share it with people that deserve it, we try our best to do it,” he said.
Gilbert’s agent reached out to David and Marsha Coakley, who own Frog Pond Farm in Canfield — a dairy farm that specializes in goat milk products — to see if they wanted to provide anything for Friday’s dinner.
The Coakleys belong to the Farmer Veteran Coalition because of David’s service in the Air Force for 20 years.
“We said the only thing we can offer is fudge right now,” Marsha said. “We sent them the list of fudge and didn’t really hear anything. Then low and behold, they give us an order.”
That order was 12 pounds of fudge, which was given high praise.
“I’m curious to see how well it’s received, the fudge. It’s kind of one of those things, once you start you can’t stop, like Lays potato chips,” David said.
“It was really too good to leave it alone. I probably ate way more than I should have, trying to work off this ‘dad bod,'” Gilbert said.
David says he never got the chance to meet a big star before, but he likes what Gilbert stands for.
“It’s great to see the stars, country or whoever, support the veterans — the guys and gals that are out there defending the nation,” David said.
“It’s a life-changing experience every time. These guys and girls sacrifice so much for our freedom and it’s just wonderful to be able to give back in any way, form or fashion,” Gilbert said.
Any food left over from Friday night’s backstage meal went to the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley.
“We eat a lot but we very seldom eat everything. Instead of throwing it away, we figured it’s better off to find something productive to do with it,” Gilbert said.
There was also another family there from the Farmers Veterans Coalition, South Elm Farm in Jefferson. They were from Ashtabula County and brought chicken and eggs.