'Not just building': President Carter's legacy lives on through Fayetteville's Habitat for Humanity

Monique John Image
Thursday, February 23, 2023
President Carter's legacy lives on through Habitat for Humanity
President Jimmy Carter's humanitarian work is inspiring countless people as Carter has retreated to home hospice care.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- President Jimmy Carter's humanitarian work is inspiring countless people after he retreated to home hospice care. One of his biggest contributions has been helping build thousands of affordable homes across the globe with Habitat for Humanity.

The impact of former President Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter expanding affordable housing through the non-profit is even resonating with people in Fayetteville.

"Habitat for Humanity really didn't have wings until Jimmy Carter got involved, and many of us don't realize what it is not to have a safe place to live," said Avis Rankins.

She said she watched President Carter's immeasurable impact through Habitat for Humanity for years. Then the organization helped house her mother after Rankins' family lost her childhood home to a flood. Experiencing the organization's generosity firsthand and following in President Carter's footsteps makes Rankins proud to work for it's Fayetteville area office as a retiree.

"(B)ecause of what he did, we're able here in Fayetteville to reach out to an entire population from the elderly to the first-time home buyers, and help them to make sure their house is safe, it's warm, it's dry and they're able to sleep peacefully at night," Rankins said.

"We wouldn't have the same type of recognition and draw to affordable housing without the likes of President Carter and the folks that he has helped bring to the table of Habitat," said Brandon Price, the chief executive officer of Fayetteville Area Habitat for Humanity.

President Carter's mission through Habitat remains clear. Spreading opportunities for quality affordable housing and forging paths to homeownership for families in need. According to Habitat for Humanity, President Carter has worked alongside over 100,000 volunteers to develop more than 4,000 homes worldwide.

"He's not somebody who just sits on the sidelines... but he is on the sites. He is swinging a hammer and has done so for the last 30 years," Price said.

Another part of Carter's legacy is supporting women. President and Rosalynn Carter held one of the first Women's Build events in 1997. The event is a series teaching women about construction and home repair. Now one of Habitat's biggest events of the year, Fayetteville's own Women's Build is just two weeks away.

"It's just great to bring such a broad spectrum of women together for a common purpose. And really, like I said, it's not just building and fixing things. It's you get to network, you get to fellowship with other women," said Kelly Rodriguez of Fayetteville's Habitat affiliate. "It's pretty exciting."

The Women's Build in Fayetteville is happening from March 8 to March 11. Those who can't make it out are encouraged to volunteer or donate to Habitat's restore on Bragg Boulevard.