PLAINS, Ga. (WRBL) — Sunday is former United States President Jimmy Carter’s 99th birthday. Millions around the nation are celebrating the Plains, Georgia native all weekend long.
Carter is the longest living president in U.S. history. WRBL heard from those who traveled to the 39th president’s hometown for Saturday’s celebration.
On Saturday, former White House Communications Agency (WHCA) employees gathered at Plains High School. They exchanged stories from their time during Carter’s term, honoring his legacy for his birthday.
Larry Little served in the WHCA from 1977 to 1985 during the Carter and Reagan administrations. As the Presidential Trip Communications Officer, Little helped set up and record broadcasts for the president during his travel missions anywhere around the world.
Well, President Carter, he was one of the very unique presidents, and we knew him very well. Not only did we know him, we had a lot of contact with Billy Carter and with really all of them, and Ms. Lilliane. And they’re just a treasure to this country. And we were very, very gratified to be able to serve during that time frame.Larry Little, Union Member of the White House Communications Agency
Admirers also joined in on the celebration as Carter’s hometown sang “Happy Birthday” and cut a birthday cake. Phenix City resident, Sophie Kowalewski says she feels connected to Carter and wouldn’t miss his birthday for the world.
For his 95th birthday here. I came by myself. It was a peanut festival and I came and I saw him and Rosalynn at the bed and breakfast. I took all kinds of pictures. I was shocked that I was able to see him. Then I bought his books and I stood in line in the heat and I got his signature and I didn’t realize he was such a tiny man and his wife. So sweet, so humble. And that’s why I said when I heard that he’s still living, because I prayed all the time for him and he’s still living at 99. That’s a beauty.Sophie Kowalewski, Phenix City Resident
Little and the other former WHCA employees fondly describe their time working for Carter as memorable.
I think if I could have a message to President Carter today, it would be: ‘Sir, it was a pleasure to serve you. And we wish you another birthday. We hope to be back on your 100th birthday even, but we wish you a great day and a great birthday.’Larry Little, Union Member of the White House Communications Agency