Valley, Ala. – More than 1,000 people showed up to the event celebrating the legacy of Millard Fuller with music and speakers including former president Jimmy Carter. The event served as the kickoff to the last build Millard planned (he intended to celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary)—and hundreds left inspired to further his legacy this week.
The afternoon celebration contained much excitement and a few surprises, including the announcement of legislation that will name Highway 29 from LaGrange, Ga. to the intersection of Interstate 85 in Alabama the “Millard Fuller Memorial Highway.”
Alabama representative Duwayne Bridges will soon introduce the legislation to officially name the highway from Alabama, to Lanett where it hits I-85. Georgia representative Randy Nix will introduce the legislature for the part of the road from LaGrange, Ga. to the Alabama border.
“I think it’s about the most incredible way they could have honored one of their native sons,” Linda Fuller said.
Another native of the Greater Valley area, Doyle Fuller, Millard’s brother, spoke at the event. “Without the life lessons that were embedded in him, here in this town, there would be no Habitat for Humanity, there would be no Fuller Center for Housing,” Doyle said.
And he was the first of many to describe the legacy of Millard Fuller and the impact he has had on the world, as well as their own lives.
Millard’s business partner from the days before Habitat for Humanity, Morris Dees, called Millard “the best friend I’ve ever had.”
“Millard picked up a hammer to build a love between a brother and a sister that we can all share,” he said.
Jimmy Carter said he never planned to work with Millard and Linda Fuller, but agreeing to work with them “turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me in my life. Because Millard and Linda were the founders and the champions, and the organizers, and implementers of Habitat for Humanity.”
Fuller Center president David Snell spoke about the blessing the Fuller Center experienced from having Millard’s expertise that came from his 29 years growing Habitat.
“We’re an infant organization with 30 years experience,” he said. “We’re infants again, but we have 30 years of experience we’ve brought to the table.”
Between speakers, the music of two local choirs, the Young Singers of West Georgia and the Valley Gospel Choir, added to the energy. And two videos were shown featuring footage of Millard and his work, along with photos and interviews with people who were inspired by him.
Both were shown publicly for the first time Sunday. The event opened with a powerful 6-minute trailer for a documentary that is currently underway called “A Call To Action: The Millard and Linda Fuller Story”.
Morris Dees perhaps summed up the theme of the event best when he spoke to the crowd of volunteers, homeowners, supporters, friends and family.
“[Millard] left us a legacy and it is up to you to keep it alive,” he said.
Check out more photos of the event HERE.
Join the event’s Facebook page here—and spread the word!