Jimmy Carter on Saturday came to the aid of his former nanny, whose home was destroyed in flooding that ravaged the town in July.
"The Lord knew I needed help and he sent him," said Annie Mae Rhodes, 77, who worked for the Carter family for 22 years. She had held Carter's father, Earl, in her arms when he died of cancer.The former president and his wife, Rosalynn, both major supporters of Habitat for Humanity, were among a group of about 40 volunteers who tore down Mrs. Rhodes' house and worked on several others in the neighborhood.
Habitat is a nonprofit group that builds houses in partnership with low-income families. It plans to build 30 homes in Albany to replace some of the 4,200 homes that were damaged or destroyed by the flood. In the meantime, Rhodes and a brother are living in a government-supplied trailer.
During a break, Carter commented on the Cuban refugee problem, saying the United States needs to initiate some dialogue with the Cuban government.
"I hope that soon will be possible," Carter said.
The State Department said later Saturday that the United States and Cuba have agreed to resume talks on migration with the hope of stemming the flow of refugees toward Florida.
Carter was president during the 1980 Mariel boatlift. He initially pledged "an open heart and open arms" for the Cubans, but reversed himself three weeks later, ordering all U.S. boats to return from Cuba without passengers or face fines and confiscation.