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Family, friends rally behind former President Jimmy Carter after hospice care announcement

LeAnne Smith said she took food to the Carter family Sunday.

PLAINS, Ga. — Following the announcement that Jimmy Carter will receive hospice in Plains, community, friends and family reflect on their time spent with the former President and humanitarian.

Carter now resides in his home, that he built with his wife Rosalynn in 1961. Their niece, LeAnne Smith, spoke with 11Alive on Monday. Smith said she took food to the Carter family Sunday. As she recalls her visit, she did so with a smile, like so many cherishing their time with Carter

“I saw him about a month ago, in fact, when I saw him, he was on the golf cart, he and Aunt Rosalynn and the Secret Service, doing their little stroll through Plains, see what was going on," Smith said.

While Smith said Plains was always a refuge for Carter, he always gave back to the community he called home.

“He’s done so much for us here in Plains, you just can’t imagine Plains without him," she said. 

Smith believes Carter's impact is felt far beyond the small town of Plains and into global depths. 

“You think about Africa and the Guinea worms and the elections that he’s helped with overseas,” Smith said. 

Carter has worked tirelessly as a humanitarian following his presidency. In addition to his work internationally, Carter and his wife have helped thousands of Georgians through their housing projects with Habitat for Humanity. 

Reflecting on her uncle's life of services, Smith understands that future generations will have to carry on his legacy. 

“We can’t fill his shoes, absolutely not, but we can walk a step or two, and every step helps.”

She said Carter has talked often about his final resting place. It could have been Arlington, it could have been the Carter Center, but he wants to be buried in Plains, because it’s home.

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