LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Former President Jimmy Carter made perhaps his biggest impact on Los Angeles after he left office, when he came to L.A. to build houses for the poor.

Now, many of the people who worked alongside Carter to build those homes are wishing the best for the former president, whose legacy has recently come into view after his cancer diagnosis was made public.

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In 1995 – just a few years after the L.A. riots – Carter traveled to Watts on a Habitat for Humanity home-building project, where he helped build 21 homes.

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“He would pick places (to volunteer) that had strife and he wanted to use Los Angeles as an example,” said Erin Rank, chief executive at Habitat for Humanity Greater Los Angeles.

Carter returned in 2007 at the age of 83 to help build more homes in San Pedro.

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“At his age, that he’s doing this kind of work is great. What a nice thing to do,” said Aaron Atlas, who worked alongside the former president. “I hope everything goes well with him.”