Concern for President Carter from NEPA man

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DALLAS, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Former President Jimmy Carter is said to be resting comfortably Tuesday night, just one day after surgery to repair a broken hip. He needed the operation after falling Monday at his Plains, Georgia home. As Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller explains, the 94-year-old Carter is very much on the mind of a local presidential historian who considers him a good friend.

Just three months after giving a Presidents’ Weekend presentation in President Jimmy Carter’s hometown, Larry Cook is concerned for his aging friend who fell and broke his hip while about to go turkey hunting. “He said that, you know, he was disappointed because he hadn’t gotten his turkey limit for the season so he’s hoping that they’ll let him roll it over into next year’s turkey season.”

Mr. Cook, a presidential historian who lives in Dallas, Luzerne County, is keeping close tabs on President Carter with whom he became fast friends about 15 years ago. “He just is always looking forward to doing something in the future, doing something to make this world a better place.” 

It’s Mr. Cook who arranged to have Mr. Carter come to Plains Township in 2011 for a “Plains Helping Plains” auction benefiting President Carter’s hometown. “This is a picture of us going into the Stegmaier Mansion,” said Mr. Cook recalling another presidential fundraising visit in 2015 to the Wyoming Valley to help Mr. Carter’s hometown.

“There’s a lot of things that impress me about him,” said Mr. Cook. As a former president known for his humanitarian and peacekeeping efforts, Mr. Cook says Mr. Carter keeps a down-to-earth disposition and is as creative as he is compassionate. Mr. Cook has several items in his possession handmade by President Carter including an 18th century-style hearth broom. And to prove that President Carter is a master woodworker, Mr. Cook also has a hay pitchfork complete with the 39th president’s signature.

“And he’s done things from self-portraits to scenes to wildlife,” said Mr. Cook while pointing out a painting by President Carter of the Wyoming Monument which hangs in Mr. Cook’s home. There is also a photo of the president posing by it. On Mr. Cook’s lapel is a presidential pin given out during the Carter administration which he wears proudly for a man he keeps close in his heart. “I just feel honored everyday to call him my friend.”

Mr. Cook says he’ll be reaching out directly to President Carter in the next day or so. He also plans to visit him this summer ahead of his 95th birthday.


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