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'A Middle Georgia guy who's done good': People visit Plains to reflect on former President Jimmy Carter's legacy

The Carter name is all over downtown Plains, but plenty of people across the state have Jimmy Carter stories of their own.

PLAINS, Ga. — To many, Jimmy Carter is Georgia's president. In his hometown of Plains, they take it a step further.

The town is his, and Carter is theirs.

Plenty of people visited Plains, on Tuesday to reflect on former President 

Jimmy Carter's impact in his hometown, across Georgia and the nation.

"Some of my classmates dared me to go up to Jimmy and ask him for a dollar," said Phil Staines, who made the trip from Unadilla with his wife, Julie. 

"Probably a junior in high school. Jimmy was running for governor."
All great stories start with a dare. Would you ask Jimmy Carter for a dollar? Staines did.

"I went up to him and said, 'Jimmy, could you give me a dollar? Or, could you borrow me a dollar?'" he recalled.

Staines didn't get the cash. Carter just kept walking.

"Doing what he was supposed to do. A professional. Ignoring a silly child like me," Staines laughed.

Years later, that prank brought the Staineses to Plains for the day. They take day trips in their retirement.

"He's just a middle Georgia guy that's done good and done good all his life. And I've come here out of respect for him in his waning years," Staines said.

Julie Staines remembers Carter for his humanitarian work and push for greener energy.

"I admired all of his energy conservation that he was doing in the 70s. That was awesome," she said.

Susan Reese lives in Columbus and just happened to pass through Tuesday.

"He was the first president I ever voted for," she said. "I met him, and I was surprised to see, 'Gosh, he's not very tall.'"

Jokes aside, Reese says Carter's presidency taught her something important. It's something she hopes lives on even after he passes.

"Unity. I got that message from him for sure. It's all about the melting pot. Treating people as you want to be treated," Reese said.

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