Local leaders share memories as Carter receives hospice care

As former president Carter receives hospice care, we’re taking a closer look at his local ties to Augusta.
Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 8:54 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - As former president Carter receives hospice care, we’re taking a closer look at his local ties to Augusta.

He paid a visit here in 1973. Since then he’s also made some lasting memories with people in our community.

Right place, right time, this is how John Hayes, a professor at Augusta University, describes his encounters with Jimmy Carter, he’s been able to see Carter three times and each time they met it was unexpected.


Hayes says his first time seeing Carter was at Wake Forest. It was a Baptist conference, and he remembers seeing the secret service and looking up to see former president Carter standing right there.

A few years later Hayes saw Carter again, this time at a Bob Dylan concert in Atlanta. Even though he had seats close to the last row, Carter was sitting just a few rows ahead of him.

Ask anyone in Plains, Georgia, Carter was a regular guy who did regular everyday things. Hayes got to see that firsthand when he snapped a pic of Carter taking a stroll with his wife Rosalynn.

“This happened so quickly. I’ve got this terrible picture. But our two older people got stooped over with long pants and long sleeve shirts. Walking, and then we’re like, wait for a second. That’s Jimmy Carter,” Hayes says.

Hayes says these three encounters inspire him as it shows how modest and humble the former president was as a person.

We spoke with a couple of local leaders who met Carter, and say his words will stay with them forever.

The family of former president Carter says he is in hospice care, surrounded by family and loved ones. Since the announcement, the reaction has poured in from state and national leaders.

We met some people right here in Augusta who have local ties to the former president.

The way Carter has lived his life is an inspiration to many. For some, it’s his ability to be a regular guy that’s more impressive than his lifetime achievements.

Hayes says, “Seeing the kind of like a personal code of modesty and just humility is which was unusual to see and inspiring.”

For those who lived during Carter’s time in office, it was his humility that caught their attention.

Dr. Lowell Greenbaum, a Richmond County Democratic chair, says, “Whom did you vote for? And we said Jimmy Carter, he said, what? Did you vote for a southerner? I said, no, we voted for a peanut farmer.”

Greenbaum served as Richmond County democratic chair for 16 years, he says Carter’s life after his presidency was even more important for his legacy.

“His post-presidency is quite remarkable. I mean, the Habitat for Humanity he organized. He was out there hammering nails. You don’t see this in the past presidents now.”

Carter helped shape many leaders, like Commissioner Jordan Johnson. Johnson traveled so he could meet Carter in person in 2016, and hearing him speak will be a memory Johnson will never forget.

“And so overall legacy, I hope that we will recognize him as being someone who has always stood up to the plate. Always did everything that they could to make this world a better place. Even better than what they found. And I think that’s something that we should follow near and dear to our hearts when we’re thinking about president Carter,” Johnson says.

A photo on Johnson’s desk serves as a reminder to lead as Carter led.