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"He leaves a piece of himself with us": Habitat for Humanity NYC thanks former president Jimmy Carter for his leadership, dedication

Habitat for Humanity NYC thanks former president Jimmy Carter
Habitat for Humanity NYC thanks former president Jimmy Carter 02:56

NEW YORK -- After hearing news Saturday that former president Jimmy Carter is receiving hospice care, his Habitat for Humanity family in New York City is sending him love and thanking him for his leadership and dedication to service.

"His first project was in 1984 right here in New York City on Sixth Street. It was the first time he ever engaged with us," said Karen Haycox, CEO of Habitat for Humanity New York City and Westchester County.

Carter's world leadership didn't stop at the White House. He's been a face of Habitat for Humanity since the '80s, and it all started here in New York City.

"New York City is very, very honored to be the location of the very first Jimmy Carter work project," Haycox said. "[In] 2013, we were in Brooklyn and Queens. He's been here three times. He leaves a real piece of himself with us in New York City."

Haycox traveled with the 39th United States president as he worked on homes all over the world after his presidency.

"He's funny, and he is one hard worker ... He's the first on the site in the morning and very often the last one to leave by the end of the day," she said.

According to the Carter Center, the 98-year-old former president is now in hospice care.

READ MORE: Jimmy Carter receiving hospice care, Carter Center says

A spokesperson told CBS after a series of short hospital stays, the oldest living U.S. president in history "decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention."

"By all accounts, he's home and comfortable and eating ice cream," Haycox said.

The former president beat cancer in 2015 and faced several health scares through the years.

The one-term governor of Georgia, U.S. president from 1977-1981, humanitarian and author was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.

"There are a lot of exciting things to be done now in this, you know, wonderful phase of my life," Carter said at the time.

He's now surrounded by his family, in a home full of love.

"He would ask you to care for your community. He would ask you what you might do to help your neighbor. He would ask you to think about your city and how you can strengthen us and keep us stronger. That would really be a tried and true way to honor President Carter when he passes," Haycox said.

His family remains by his bedside.

Habitat for Humanity in New York City says they are praying for peace, strength and comfort for the Carters in the days ahead.

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