Jimmy Carter Keeps Adding to Resume

Former president gets to try on a new hat

Former President Jimmy Carter is presented with his ranger hat by National Park Service officials. (National Park Service)
Former President Jimmy Carter is presented with his ranger hat by National Park Service officials. (National Park Service)
Jason Dick
Posted April 18, 2016 at 10:17am

If you think you see a 91-year-old former president while hiking around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this summer, that would be Ranger Jimmy Carter.  

Over the weekend, the National Park Service made the 39th president, Nobel Peace Prize winner and cancer survivor an honorary park ranger.  

“This is indeed an honor for me,” Carter said at a ceremony at the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in his hometown of Plains, Georgia, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. “I’m not sure what authority this gives me. … I know, I’m going to ask the (NPS) to do an even ‘better’ job with the site here!” According to NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, it means he gets to wear the wide-brimmed ranger hat — wherever he pleases.  

“He gets the hat,” Jarvis chuckled. Carter created 39 National Park Service sites, including the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, and used the Antiquities Act to designate wild areas as national monuments — a continuing presidential practice that has attracted praise from environmentalists and scorn from some states and those concerned about cutting off public land from development.  

Carter has been busy this year. Last year, he revealed he had cancer, and the prognosis wasn’t great: It had spread to his brain and liver. But he announced last month that, thanks to an aggressive treatment called immunotherapy, he was cancer-free and could stop treatment, according to ABC News. He also hasn’t been afraid to wade into the 2016 presidential election, saying he’d choose Donald Trump over Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, if forced to, pooh-poohing Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, speaking out against gun violence and continuing his work at the Carter Center, which is active in efforts to further peace around the globe.  

Carter’s hometown is already represented by a Democrat in Congress, Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr. But if Bishop needed a rest, who knows? Ranger Carter could probably be pressed into running.  


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