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President Jimmy Carter planning trip to Denver

8:56 AM, Nov 30, 2012   |    comments
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Mr. Carter announced the Mile High City as a place he'll celebrate 30 years of service with Habitat for Humanity.

"We look forward in 2013 to visit Denver," Carter said.

He revealed the news as the work on the Habitat project in Leogane, Haiti neared an end. Mr. Carter has been working alongside a group of volunteers from Colorado to build 100 homes in one week.

With every swing of a hammer or buzz of a drill, optimism grows in a place that has been so short on home. Haitians say they have felt forgotten. Nearly three years after an Earthquake crippled the country, 400,000 people still live in tents.

That is why Dave Oletzski traveled from Denver to build under a hot sun. He could argue there is plenty of work to do at home in his neighborhood. He lives in Globeville. It has challenges with houses that are in disrepair and hard working families who just cannot afford the real estate.

Two rows over on the construction site, Former President Carter follows the identical blueprint. He worked alongside the one he says had been "boss" for 66 years.

"I'm a pretty professional carpenter by now," laughed Roslynn Carter.
9NEWS Reporter Cheryl Preheim said, "You can direct the team."
"She does." President Carter responded.

They had taken a quick break from working on building homes to talk to their plans. They will be working in Dave Oletski's neighborhood.

"We are very excited to come to Denver because the people in Colorado are so eager to help people and I think to come to Denver will be an exciting thing for all of us," Carter said.

Governor John Hickenlooper told 9NEWS that it is an honor for Colorado.

"The real benefit is the ability to create faith in the community. I think that can catapult them and put them on a positive trajectory," Hickenlooper said.

Habitat for Humanity helps build affordable housing. It has more than 1500 affiliates in the United States and is in more than 80 countries around the world. Homeowners put in sweat equity in their houses and pay the cost to build it at 0 percent interest. Habitat says its philosophy is a hand up not a hand out.

"It's just only going to get better," Oletski said.

It's a well kept secret and people are starting to discover it.

A world of circumstances and 2,300 miles separate Leogane, Haiti and Denver, Colo., but the hope for a better life, a safe place to live and dignity is no different.

That is what it is all about Mr. Carter said

"A decent place to stay and some pride and self respect; pride in something that you've done yourself and a little hope for the future," Mr. Carter said.

Oletski said the Globeville neighborhood has felt forgotten too. Globeville is a historic community beneath the towering overpasses of Interstate 25 and Interstate 70.

"People have just passed by us for so long and never even took a second look," Oletski said.

Soon Globeville will be seen as never before and will be changed because of it. Just like Haiti.

"It's just unbelievable," Oletski said. "It's like one minute the President is in Haiti the next he's coming to Globeville."

The Habitat for Humanity Carter Work Project will be in Denver in October and are calling on Colorado volunteers to work alongside them. The Carters will also go to New York where volunteers are already helping with Sandy recovery efforts.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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