Super Senior: Jim Carter

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COLCHESTER, Vt. (WCAX) At 112 years-old, Centennial Field is the granddaddy of baseball. It's even older than Fenway Park.

"It's just ah, I don't want to get too religious here, but it's like a cathedral. It's such a special place," said Jim Carter.

Carter's memories of the field go back to his Windsor High School championship game here in the '50s. In a way, he's never left.

Carter was the University of Vermont assistant baseball coach until the school cut the program in 2009. Now he's the coach of the club team. It's clear that he has a passion for baseball, but he has another commitment and it hits close to home.

"You can still see it's painful to tell, but it's a message he really wants to get out," said Cassidy Moore, a UVM senior.

"Terrible day, absolutely the worst day of my life," Carter said, "and I was involved, big time."

He opens up as he speaks at the drivers ed class at Colchester High School.

The day was November 4, 1990. Two best friends from Mount Mansfield High School were in a car. Susan was wearing a seatbelt and Andrea wasn't.

"I will tell you I wasn't responsible for the crash. I was a half a mile from the crash when it happened," Carter said.

Carter leaves the rest of the story until the end, like a cliffhanger in a novel. but the story has some cold hard facts. If you don't wear seatbelts after a crash, you could die.

"I hope I have some impact with you, because driving is such a great thing," Carter tells the class.

There's a second message for the students. "Why am I talking about organ donation?" Carter said. "Well, it's a big part of your license."

Now, he says over 50 percent of Vermonters are donors. An increase of five percent over just a decade ago. Carter brings in a living example of that good deed. Cy Roberts got a new heart when he was 14. The presentation is peppered with humor and a little role playing. Then comes the stunner.

"This is our daughter," Carter said, holding up a photo of his daughter, Andrea Carter. "Andrea always wore a seatbelt, always."

But the day of the crash, the 17-year-old's seatbelt wasn't working. Carter says the driver, Susan, took her eyes off the road for just a moment.

"When she did that, she drifted into the oncoming lane and crashed head-on into another truck," Carter said.

Andrea's head went violently into the windshield. Susan walked away.

The doctors soon determined Andrea was brain dead.

"I remember we decided her becoming an organ donor on the night of November 10th. I remember, I remember saying goodbye to her," Carter said.

It took close to 10 years before Carter decided to share his story with high school students. Incredibly, the 76-year-old has done this presentation over 2,500 times.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Does it get any easier?
Jim Carter: It's tough going to Mount Mansfield.

Six people have Andrea's organs. Now, Jim makes sure others know of her story and what she gave -- the gift of life.

"Thank you," one student says to Carter at the conclusion of the class.

"You're welcome," Carter responds.