Former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalyn Carter spent the day in Memphis helping Habitat for Humanity build affordable housing in Uptown.
The famous couple was joined by country music megastars Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, dozens of volunteers and Memphis mayor-elect Jim Strickland.
Carter, now 91 and battling cancer, said he feels good and that charity work is hard to give up.
“It wouldn’t be a work project without Rosalyn telling me what to do and making sure I don’t get hurt and making sure I rest every now and then,” said Carter.
Since 2013, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis has built 28 homes in Uptown. It’s goal is 50.
The woman moving into the house under construction on Looney Avenue was in awe of the famous people helping out. In fact, Arlicia Gilliams got to work right alongside the Carters.
“I mean, it was going to be historic to me because it was my first home and I’m helping build it, but to just know that the president, the mayor and his wife is here, it’s wonderful,” Gilliams said.
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis has helped 445 families move into new homes.
The Carters said they have learned a lot about the poorest people in the world and the critical need for affordable housing. They said what is being done in the Memphis neighborhood will change lives.
“I think the whole attitude of a neighborhood is transformed when Habitat comes in and takes over a model place in the middle of a neighborhood, everyone tries to emulate or copy what Habitat has done,” Jimmy Carter said.
Carter said this was just a preview of what they will be doing when they come back to the Uptown neighborhood next year.
Photo: Andrea Morales /NPR