Central Lakes College instructor meets with former President Jimmy Carter

Little Falls resident Steve Wenzel met with former President Jimmy Carter last week. Wenzel was visiting the Carter Presidential Library and the Carter Center. He attended the Carter Center Board of Councilors June 12 meeting with a group representing Books for Africa, a St. Paul-based nonprofit organization that has sent 32 million books to Africa since 1998. Also attending was Books for Africa Executive Director Patrick Plonski. Plonski’s mother Jeanne, was the daughter of Otto Wilczek, who owned the West Side Meat Market in Little Falls for many years. A Belle Plaine native, Patrick Plonski served as administrator of the Minnesota House Agriculture Committee when Wenzel was serving in the Legislature as chair of that committee. Sir Emeka Offer, a wealthy benefactor of Books for Africa from Nigeria, made a presentation to the Carter Center Board regarding river blindness in Africa, a disease that is passed by black flies to humans. Offer serves as director of the Carter Center’s River Blindness Program, and Offer’s Foundation made a $10 million grant to the Carter Center to combat the disease in Nigeria. Pictured (from left) are: Thomas Warth, founder of Books for Africa; Wenzel, President Carter and Patrick Plonski.

Little Falls resident Steve Wenzel met with former President Jimmy Carter last week. Wenzel was visiting the Carter Presidential Library and the Carter Center. He attended the Carter Center Board of Councilors June 12 meeting with a group representing Books for Africa, a St. Paul-based nonprofit organization that has sent 32 million books to Africa since 1998. Also attending was Books for Africa Executive Director Patrick Plonski. Plonski’s mother Jeanne, was the daughter of Otto Wilczek, who owned the West Side Meat Market in Little Falls for many years. A Belle Plaine native, Patrick Plonski served as administrator of the Minnesota House Agriculture Committee when Wenzel was serving in the Legislature as chair of that committee. Sir Emeka Offer, a wealthy benefactor of Books for Africa from Nigeria, made a presentation to the Carter Center Board regarding river blindness in Africa, a disease that is passed by black flies to humans. Offer serves as director of the Carter Center’s River Blindness Program, and Offer’s Foundation made a $10 million grant to the Carter Center to combat the disease in Nigeria. Pictured (from left) are: Thomas Warth, founder of Books for Africa; Wenzel, President Carter and Patrick Plonski.

Central Lakes College political science instructor Steve Wenzel met with former President Jimmy Carter last week at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

This is the second time Wenzel was invited as a guest to a Board of Councilors event. The first was in 1986 when the Jimmy Carter Library was dedicated.

Last week’s event was in part to celebrate Books for Africa, a cause to which CLC donated a significant amount of library and faculty textbooks in 2014.

The guest of Patrick Plonski, executive director of Books for Africa, Wenzel chatted with President Carter during the two-day trip.

“I greatly admire President Carter. He is an excellent example of the proper role of a former president,” Wenzel said. “He truly cares about people. He has a great humanitarian spirit that makes for a better world.”

Wenzel said he’ll share his experiences with students in his CLC classes.

During his visit, Wenzel was also given a personal tour of the Carter Center.

Wenzel said he was impressed with how detailed and digitally organized the Jimmy Carter Library is. Library staff were able to show letters dating back to 1979, as well as other correspondence from White House staff.

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