Plains locals remember Rosalynn Carter and all her contributions to the country

Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 7:27 PM EST
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PLAINS, Ga. (WTVM) - Rosalynn Carter was a pioneer for mental health and one of the first to get behind it to try and make a difference on a national level. During her time as First Lady, Carter led a focus on the mental health needs of healthcare caregivers, child vaccination and bringing peace to countries across the world.

Locals in town, like Jean Kersey, wish they could say thank you.

“Her greatest gift to us was her focus on mental health, which is something we, more than ever, need. She was really the first lady that got behind it and advocated for it. For that, I am so grateful,” said Kersey.

Kersey says President Carter is the first president she voted for and she absolutely loves their inspirational love story.

“I just thought, a country girl ended up in the White House. I mean, a peanut farmer and his wife ended up in the White House? It was like, the all-American story,” said Kersey.

After the White House, the Carters returned home to Plains, and Mrs. Carter published her autobiography “First Lady From Plains.” She also started the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers.

Jennifer Hopkins is an Education Technician at Jimmy Carter National Historical Park. She says they partner with eight schools in the area to talk about Mrs. Carter’s legacy.

“I think her heart for mental health advocacy, her heart for women’s rights, her heart for child immunization, it’s all coming from a place of genuine love. That’s what she really wants to spread,” said Hopkins.

The First Lady passed away in her home on November 19th. President and Mrs. Carter were married for 77 years.

“Just, how much Rosalynn meant to him. We all got teary-eyed when we got into the office this morning. Really, our hearts are going out to him and thinking about him and just having that personal connection with her,” said Hopkins.