CANTON, Ohio — Jimmy Carter was the 39th president of the United States, but his legacy goes beyond politics. 

What You Need To Know

  • Jimmy Carter and his wife volunteered for Habitat for Humanity for nearly 40 years

  • During that time, the couple worked on job sites in 14 counties and helped build thousands of homes

  • The CEO of Habitat for Humanity East Central Ohio had the chance to meet Carter about 15 years ago


Carter was one of Habitat for Humanity’s most well-known volunteers. 

Beth Lechner, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity East Central Ohio, had the chance to spend the weekend with Jimmy Carter with other Habitat leaders from across the country. 

“We went and spent the morning in his hometown church where he actually taught Sunday school class,” Lechner recalled. “Sitting a in a pew with him, teaching Sunday school, was really cool.” 

Carter and his wife served as Habitat for Humanity ambassadors for nearly 40 years. 

During that time, they worked on job sites in 14 countries and helped build thousands of homes. 

“He is just such a simple, humble, brilliant, thoughtful and loving man,” Lechner said. “It is really something when you think about what he did and what he has done and certainly for us, his commitment to Habitat for Humanity and the ministry of that.” 

Lechner said it’s easy to spot Carter’s impact even in Canton, where they are the number one Habitat for Humanity home builders in the state. 

“This affiliate has really strived to continue to carry on those very basic Christian principals that Habitat was founded on,” she said. “I give all the credit in the world to those founders and big supporters of Habitat in the early days.” 

Lechner said Carter’s legacy will continue to live on through Habitat. 

“He really is a person who is about working with people individually and helping build them up,” she said. “That is what he spent the whole rest of his life doing and Habitat was a natural fit for that because that is what we do.”