Remembering Rosalynn: Community remembers impact of former First Lady

Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 5:08 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 20, 2023 at 5:20 PM EST
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PLAINS, Ga. (WTOC) - Just a day after the passing of the former First Lady, many are taking time to share the ways she and what she has created has impacted their lives and will continue to for years to come.

One of those things she created is the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers. Needless to say, they too are mourning the loss of their founder, leader and friend today.

Rosalynn Carter created the institute after she herself witnessed the stress being a caregiver can have on someone when her father was diagnosed with cancer when she was only 12.

In the years since, she has made supporting those caregivers a priority in life. Not just putting her name on it but as the current CEO Dr. Jennifer Olsen said, putting her heart in it. “I took this job when she was 91. Not many people have a 91-year-old boss and if they do they think, ‘oh they’re not going to engage.’ Every week I talked to Mrs. Carter on Thursdays. She’d ask me what we were doing, how we work making progress. She often said, ‘I don’t consider what I do work I consider it service.’ So, the idea of retirement wasn’t on her short list,” Dr. Olsen said.

Those who did and didn’t know her said that she truly lead a life of service and one that will surely not be forgotten.

The streets of Plains likely had more members of the media than residents on Monday. Maybe that’s because there aren’t many residents or maybe it’s because Monday means going back to work.

Something Rosalynn knew plenty about, as she continued to put in the work day in and day out nearly up until the day she died.

Those who knew her said that if you asked her, the work she wanted to do still wasn’t finished.

But if you ask those who did come into town Monday, like father and son Stan and Jack Keeley, it’s because her work made an impact, and it still will for years to come

“He said I’d really like to take you to Plains and honor her legacy which was helping people, that’s the name of the game. The more you help people the more good things happen.”

“I’ve always been thankful for all of her efforts in turns of mental illness. Creating awareness and creating programs that will continue after.”