The federal government may be shut down, but former President Jimmy Carter is hard at work grabbing the power saw like an expert at a Habitat for Humanity site in Oakland.
"If they could just see what happens on a Habitat project and use that same pattern in Washington -- with everybody working together toward a common goal, I think that would be a wonderful development in our national capital," said Carter.
His visit is quite a morale boost for the crew. Workers were robbed at gunpoint while working on these homes last week. One man was pistol whipped during the attack.
"Not only to steal from another person, but to steal from people who are looking for a good house for the first time in their life -- it's kind of a double crown I think," said Carter.
"It was an unfortunate incident, but we are past it and this week is making up for last week's drama," said East Bay Habitat for Humanity CEO Janice Jensen.
Habit for Humanity is building 12 townhomes in East Oakland as part of the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter work project. Country singers Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood are also working on the homes - they say the former president is a tough a boss.
"He is, you better be working. I hope he doesn't come by and see us standing around here," said Trisha Yearwood.
"I got to tell you nobody works harder than he does. As much as I loved him as a president -- I think he's done a thousand times more since," said Garth Brooks.
The country stars say the real reward is getting to meet the homeowners and see their excitement. It was definitely evident today.
"How many people can say they met the president and say the president worked on your house. So it's an amazing experience," said new homeowner Ayoda Werede.
Werede said it is upsetting to talk about a robbery at her future home, but she believes the community will pull together and prevent that from happening in the future.
Habitat for Humanity has hired extra security to watch over their crews until the job is finished.