From ABC News’ Arlette Saenz:
Former President Jimmy Carter appeared healthy and vibrant as he started construction on a new Habitat for Humanity home in northeast Washington, D.C. today. The former president braved the rain as he worked outside for an hour to kick off World Habitat Day and joked about his hospital visit last week.
“I spent two days last week on a vacation in a Cleveland hospital and got well very quickly because I wanted to be ready for the Habitat Project,” Mr. Carter said.
Hammering in nails and setting the frame for a new home, President Carter was accompanied by former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, Habitat for Humanity CEO Jonathan Reckford and nearly 200 volunteers. The volunteers participating in the D.C. project will build six new homes and refurbish six others in the neighborhood of Ivy City over the course of the week.
Today’s event was part of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter’s Work Project. Over the next week, Mr. and Mrs. Carter will swing through six cities and join 2,000 volunteers to repair and renovate 86 homes – the number in honor of President Carter’s 86th birthday last week.
The Carters are some of Habitat for Humanity’s most ardent volunteers. For the past 27 years, they have devoted a week annually to building and refurbishing Habitat for Humanity homes, and President Carter plans to continue this tradition.
“Well I’m an unpaid employee of Habitat and how many years we go will depend on God’s will and also Habitat being willing to accept older people, who work as volunteers,” he said.