MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - The former President of the United States who is helping to build new homes in Mishawaka has lived in the same home in Plains, Georgia, since 1961.
That’s just one little-known fact Jimmy Carter shared Wednesday during our one-on-one conversation.
“I grew up in a house that was built from Sears Roebuck, didn’t have electricity or running water in it,” Carter explained. “I didn’t have electricity until I was, I was in late teens and I was ready to go off to college.”
Jimmy Carter was only 56 years old when he left office.
For the past 35 years he’s been building Habitat for Humanity houses like the life of democracy depended on it.
“Affordable housing should be the top priority of our country for equality of opportunity and the future of democracy, I think. To have people living in their own house and taking care of it and paying taxes,” Carter explained.
According to Habitat for Humanity, the group built 758 homes in the eight years before Jimmy Carter came on board.
Since the presence of the ex-president was added, the organization has helped 13.2 million people.
“Fiona, who's going to be the homeowner here, she has four children, so she's working all the week on the house, she’s been here a long time,” Carter said.
What Habitat is arguably best at is getting the "1 percent" and those struggling economically in the same place at the same time to work for the common good.
“That's one of the most difficult things for the 1 percent to do, is to break down the barrier between yourself and people who are really desperate, in need and never had a decent place to live, but Habitat makes it easy for us to cross that barrier and work side by side,” Carter said.
While Carter has been out of public office for 37 years now, he still sees life through the eyes of a world leader. “I'm 25 years older than the People’s Republic of China. It was formed in 1949 when I was 25 years old, on the first day of October”
Next Oct. 1, Jimmy Carter will celebrate his 94th birthday, lamenting the loss of a key component of the days when he lived in the White House: Truthfulness.
“Well, I think so, I think the current administration has a lot of problems with people that double-check the accuracy of their statements," he said. "They found out quite often an inaccurate statement is made.”
Carter recalled the days when he attended the U.S. Naval Academy.
“If you told the slightest falsehood or made a misleading statement to an upper classman or to an officer, you were automatically out," he said. "I mean, you were expelled that day.”
Despite the changing political times, Carter prays for current President Donald Trump and feels the country will survive.
“I pray that he'll keep our country at peace and promote human rights and that he will be successful as a president, yes,” Carter said. “My first and overwhelming feeling is that America has been able to overcome any sort of very serious handicap in the past, you know, with the Civil War and 100 years of racial discrimination that was approved by Congress and the Supreme Court. So we’ve pretty well overcame the first part and we're working on the second one.”
The Jimmy Carter Work Project concludes with closing ceremonies set for 5 p.m. Friday.