Jimmy Carter Makes First Public Appearance After Falling at His Home in Georgia

Carter fell on Sunday morning at his Georgia home and required stitches above his eyebrow

immy Carter
Former President Jimmy Carter in 2019. Photo: The organizer/China News Service/Visual China Group/Getty

Jimmy Carter made his first public appearance since taking a fall over the weekend.

The former president, 95, appeared in Nashville, Tennessee, on Sunday evening for a Habitat for Humanity building project rally just hours after he fell at his home in Plains, Georgia.

As he addressed the tumble and his newly-bruised face, Carter said nothing could keep him from making the trip to Tennessee to help build homes.

“I wanna explain my black eye,” he said, according to video of his remarks. “I got up this morning … I was getting ready for church, right after that we had a family reunion and we were coming to Nashville.”

“I fell down and hit my forehead on a sharp edge and I had to go to the hospital,” Carter explained. “And they took 14 stitches in my forehead and my eye’s black, if you noticed.”

“But I had a No. 1 priority and that was to come to Nashville to build houses!” he added.

On Sunday, a spokesperson for The Carter Center revealed that the former president had taken a fall and that the incident “required stitches above his brow.”

“He said he feels fine and wanted everyone to know that he and Mrs. Carter are eager to be at Habitat for Humanity’s Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project in Nashville, Tennessee,” the statement said of Carter and his wife of 73 years, Rosalynn.

While in Nashville, the Carters will be volunteering at the 36th Carter Work Project. They will team up with future Habitat homeowners and other volunteers to build 21 new homes in the city’s Park Preserve neighborhood from Monday to the following Friday, Habitat for Humanity spokesman Bryan Thomas told PEOPLE.

Jimmy Carter, Rosalynn Carter
From left: Former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter in September 2018. John Amis/AP/Shutterstock

Last year, Carter surpassed George H. W. Bush‘s record as the oldest living president, following Bush’s 2018 death at 94 years and 171 days old.

For his 95th birthday, the former commander-in-chief, who has been nicknamed the “active ex-president,” took the day off to relax by celebrating with a “quiet day at home,” according to a spokeswoman.

In May, Carter broke his hip while he was on his way to go turkey hunting and sustained a fall that led to hip surgery, according to his spokeswoman.

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Carter has also overcome serious health issues, including brain and liver cancer in 2015.

At the time of his cancer treatments, Carter said his message was “one of hope and acceptance. Hope for the best, accept what comes,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I think I have been as blessed as any human being in the world,” he said.

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