PLAINS, Ga. (WRBL) – Residents of the town where Former President Jimmy Carter was born and raised shared birthday wishes as he celebrated his 97th birthday.

Plains, the small south Georgia town has a population just north of 600 people, but is also home to the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter.

Most days you’ll find Main Street in Downtown Plains with a few residents and tourists, visiting the Plains Historic Inn and Antique Mall, the Plains Depot, or enjoying lunch at The Buffalo Café.

That’s where WRBL News’ Blake Eason began hearing birthday wishes for their hometown hero, Former President Jimmy Carter.

Ellen Harris, who helps run the Inn and Antique Mall, reflected on her memory of voting for President Carter when she was 18 years old.

“When he won the presidency we were just so excited. I was 18 when that happened so he was the first person that I voted for. Knowing him and knowing the family, it was just unreal, like, oh my gosh, I know somebody that’s President of the United States from our little town of Plains,” said Harris.

LeAnne Smith who was helping out at The Buffalo Cafe one Monday afternoon, shared what President Carter means to Plains, while grinning from ear to ear.

“He means peace and goodwill to everybody here and across the nation,” said Smith.

Executive Director for the Friends of Jimmy Carter National Historic Site Kim Fuller, also the niece of President Cater, admits Plains wouldn’t be Plains without him while wishing him a very happy 97th birthday.

“President Carter means home to Plains,” said Fuller.

Sybil Carter, who helps out at the front desk of the Plains Historic Inn, cherishes President Carter’s character most.

“He’s always been so kind to everyone and he listens. That’s very important he listens to everyone and he makes you feel like, when you’re talking to him, that you’re the only person around,” said Carter.

Long time friends of the Carters and residents of Plains, Jan and George Williams, reflected on their memories with the Carters. George remembers their time playing softball together and Jan expresses her gratitude that President Carter still calls Plains home.

“Happy Birthday, Mr. Jimmy. We sure are glad you’re from Plains, Georgia,” said Williams.

While each person we spoke with all had different answers to what President Carter means to Plains, as Sybil Carter shares, the one thing each person agreed on was that October 1 will always be a special day in this small Georgia town.

“His birthday is so special, to all of us in the family, and it’s special to everyone here in Plains,” said Carter.