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Jimmy Carter collapses from dehydration in Winnipeg

The 92-year-old former president was volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, and had reportedly been outside in the sun for over an hour.

Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, builds a home for Habitat for Humanity in Winnipeg Manitoba, July 13, 2017.

Lyle Stafford/For Metro

Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, builds a home for Habitat for Humanity in Winnipeg Manitoba, July 13, 2017.

Jimmy Carter spent about an hour on a Winnipeg construction site drilling, sawing and measuring when he was suddenly whisked away by security and escorted into an ambulance.

The former U.S. president and his wife, Rosalynn, were in the city’s St. James neighbourhood early Thursday morning building homes for Habitat for Humanity. The 92-year-old began to feel faint, so the Carters were transported to the St. Boniface Hospital. As of press time, there was no update on his condition, but Habitat officials say Carter was feeling better.

 “President Carter was dehydrated working in the hot sun,” Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International explained to media at a news conference originally planned for the president.

“He told us he was OK and being taken off site for observation. He is encouraging everyone to stay hydrated and keep building.”

That’s exactly what crews did. Water bottles were being topped up while the sounds of hammering and table saws continued.

Former President of the United States Jimmy Carter is helped by secret service after suffering from dehydration while building a home for Habitat for Humanity in Winnipeg Manitoba, July 13, 2017.

Lyle Stafford/For Metro

Former President of the United States Jimmy Carter is helped by secret service after suffering from dehydration while building a home for Habitat for Humanity in Winnipeg Manitoba, July 13, 2017.

Earlier that morning, Carter inspired hundreds of volunteers and organizers gathered to hear him deliver morning devotions before lending a hand with one of 16 permanent homes being constructed on the former site of the St. James Police Station.

“A decent home is a basic human right,” said Carter, who was last in Winnipeg 24 years ago to help build 18 Habitat for Humanity homes in the city’s North End. “We get to know these people, see how hard they work, see how worthy they are of a home.”

Carter, who served as U.S. president from 1977 to 1981, travelled to Winnipeg after having been in Edmonton. A total of 150 new homes are being built across the country as part of a Habitat for Humanity building “blitz” to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial. Twenty-five homes are being constructed in Manitoba.

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