Jimmy Carter has a long history with Habitat for Humanity
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In 2019, former President Jimmy Carter showed up at a Habitat for Humanity site in Nashville with a smile – and a black eye. One day earlier, Carter, then 95, had fallen and needed 14 stitches, but he kept up his commitment to the organization. It’s a commitment he’s held since the 1980s.
Habitat for Humanity, which helps homeowners build homes alongside volunteers, was founded in Americus, Georgia, nearby Carter’s hometown of Plains. Americus happens to be where Carter first volunteered with the organization in 1984.
Later that year, Carter happened to walk by another Habitat build in New York City, according to the organization. He noticed there were few volunteers, so he and his wife, Rosaylnn, joined them. They brought some more volunteers with them, helping to renovate the apartment building that would house 19 families.
Since then, the former president and first lady have run The Carter Work Project with Habitat for Humanity. The New York City building is considered the first of the homes they’ve worked on – and the couple has returned to the city for builds three times, according to CBS New York.
“He’s funny and one hard worker,” CEO of Habitat for Humanity New York City and Westchester County Karen Haycox told CBS New York. “He’s the first on the site in the morning and very often the last one to leave at the end of the day.”
Habitat homeowner Jacqueline Wills told CBS Dallas Fort Worth what it was like to work alongside the president as he volunttered in Forth Worth.
“It was such an honor it was a humbling experience,” Wills said. “I will never forget that and I’ll be totally indebted to him for the rest of my life.”
“They had the houses on this street marked one through 10 and ours was number one, and they called it The Carter house because President Carter himself worked on it,” she added.
More than 4,300 homes could be considered a “Carter House” because the Carters have helped build that many homes with more than 100,000 volunteers in 14 countries over nearly 40 years, according to the organization.
“I sure hope when I’m 90 years old, I still have a hammer in my hand and I’m out building houses. That’d be a life well lived,” volunteer Mike Criner told CBS Colorado. Criner worked alongside Carter and said the former president was one of his main inspirations for joining the build.
In 2019, Carter became the longest living president at at 94 years and 172 days old. A few months later, just after his 95th birthday, he showed up to that build in Nashville, as he recovered from a fall. He was joined by Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, and hundreds of volunteers.
At the build, Carter spoke about not letting anything stand in his way to be there. “Habitat is inspirational. You know, just a motivation to come to Habitat and we always, as I’ve said many times, we get a lot more out of it as we put into it,” the former president said.
Earlier this month, the Carter Center revealed the former president was receiving hospice care at his home alongside his family.