A Habitat for Humanity Legacy

There are strong opinions about who might be the most impactful US president. But, there should be less debate on the most impactful ex-president. In the view of many, that would be James Earl Carter, better known as Jimmy.

With Rosalynn, his wife of 73 years by his side, the 95 year-old Carter is out there with hammer and drill building houses for Habitat for Humanity. As a non-profit Board volunteer, I believe the Habitat model, embraced by Carter, is a sound model, based on sweat equity. Having helped build one house with my co-workers, I can attest to the “sweat” part, as never have I been more tired at the end of the day.

Not only does the home owner have to help build his or her house, he or she has to help other home owners build their houses. But, another famous couple is building on the Carter Habitat legacy. You may have heard of them – country singers Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood. They hope to carry the hammer and drill forward after the Carters can no longer do it. Yet, the older couple are still out their hammering away, even after falls, hospital stays, etc.

Yet, that is not all of what Carter does. He still teaches Sunday school, which is so well attended, it was moved to the church sanctuary. He has also written about thirty books – I have read a couple, one on his upbringing and one on addressing the maltreatment of women in the US and world. His and Rosalynn’s “Carter Center” has helped to eradicate guinea worm disease in many places around the globe. And, Carter has been asked by several presidents to be an envoy to certain countries to represent our interests be it for state funerals or to elicit the release of an American in custody.

To be frank, his presidency is not given sufficient credit as he served one term as an outsider. To my surprise, I read that a significant number of bills were signed into law on his watch, but that is not well known. But, it is clear, he has been a much more impactful former president. He will be missed when he is gone.

Let’s celebrate them while he and Rosalynn are with us. A good way to do so, is to sing a Peter, Paul and Mary song, “If I had a hammer, I’d swing it in the morning, I’d swing it in the evening all over this land….”

15 thoughts on “A Habitat for Humanity Legacy

  1. Note to Readers: Two side stories about Jimmy Carter stand out. First, as Navy engineer, he had solar panels placed on top of the White House in the late 1970s. His successor, Ronald Reagan, had them removed. He also had a pretty forward thinking energy plan, that never saw the light of day.

    Second, in his book “A Call to Action” about addressing the maltreatment of women in the US as a follow-up to Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book called “Half the Sky,” Carter spoke off how the bible is sometimes used inappropriately to keep women down. This man teaches the bible and knows it very well. He would say passages are taken out of context or used inappropriately toward this purpose. What Carter also knows is women had an important hand in keeping Christianity alive after the Romans got very serious about putting it down thirty years after Jesus died on the cross.

  2. For some months now, I have been meaning to do another post on Jimmy Carter, both the man and the Habitat for Humanity. Jimmy Carter may not have been the greatest statesman, but it’s interesting that after he left office, he was called upon to provide diplomacy abroad. And his work for Habitat is unequaled and shows just how much of a humanitarian he is. There is absolutely no comparison between him and the incumbent … Jimmy Carter wins that contest hands down! Thanks for shining the light on President Carter, and for reminding me of my intentions!

  3. Note to Readers: If you have a small group, I encourage you to volunteer to build a Habitat house. Our office did it one day and it was a great experience. As for being tired, after we hammered together the frame, we came back later in the day to hammer in the insulation siding. My right arm was so tired, I had to hammer with my left. It was ome one of those “good tireds” at day’s end.

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