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Plains Helping Plains'

For years, Larry Cook has had an interest in antiques and collecting. When he opened Cook and Cook Auctions four years ago, he never dreamed one of his clients would be a former president of the United States.

Cook grew up in Manlius, the son of Larry and Joyce Cook. He graduated from Fayetteville-Manlius High School in 1978. In 1995, he moved to Plains, Penn., with his wife, Diane, where they opened Cook and Cook Estate Liquidators in 1999. In 2006, they added Cook and Cook Auctions with partners Mark and Annette Parmelee. Through the auction division, Cook and Cook consign anything from one item to an entire business.

In March, Cook and Cook Auctions began planning for the most exciting auction to date-Plains Helping Plains. Their client: President Jimmy Carter.

The auction came about after a trip to Plains, Georgia-home of the 39th president-for Cook's birthday in 2006.

"We fell in love with the small town, and have gone back once or twice each year ever since," said Cook, a presidential history buff. During their yearly trip this March, the Cooks were invited to a dinner party hosted by the President and Rosalynn Carter.

"They came to us to ask our professional opinion on how to go about doing an auction," said Cook. The auction was to benefit the Plains Better Hometown Program, which was started by the Carters, and is meant to help preserve the history of Plains, GA.

"It was out of the blue, but he was very interested in what we had to say," Cook said. "Before we knew it, calls started coming in from Carter's office to plan the event. "

The name, "Plains Helping Plains" stemmed from the shared town name in PA and GA. Cook said he suggested the name, and the Carters loved the idea. Cook also suggested the auction be held in PA, and "the idea just rapidly took off."

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