Johnnie Hodges Sr. served on both the Atlantic and Pacific sides of World War II. He’s seen a lot in his life, and he’s worked hard to make a living for himself.
He also happened to be the first African-American to serve as a foreman for the coke ovens in Bethlehem Steel, and he kept the job for many years.
After the war, he found his eventual wife, Flora, and they settled into a nice home in Buffalo, NY.
A few years back, Hodges took out a second mortgage on the house to repair the front porch and inside the house. He wanted to fix up the home that he had already lived in for so long, rather than find a different one at such an old age.
But later on, Flora was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Johnnie started to invest all of his money and attention towards helping his wife of 60 years with her treatment. When Bethlehem Steel closed, he took up a job as a bus driver, but he was let go when he turned 85 due to health reasons.
To make things harder, a lot of the medical procedures for Flora were not covered by their insurance. Johnnie strove to pay for them regardless.
Sadly, his wife passed away in 2014.
After that, he owed $70,000 in back mortgage payments. He had fallen behind because of all of the money that went towards his wife’s medical treatments, and at that point, his only income came from Social Security.
He was soon faced with eviction from his house—but Johnnie refused to leave.
“I worked a lifetime for this house, and I’d like to be here until I leave this world,” he told Buffalo News. He said that God had a plan for him, and he was waiting for it to be fulfilled.
When it was time to leave, the police came, but the veteran did not get up. He stood his ground, and told them he would only leave in handcuffs. Instead, the paramedics were called, and he was removed from the house on a stretcher, then taken to a medical facility to be evaluated.
It seemed like Hodges would not be able to stay in his home in his final days.
But luckily, his story touched someone.
Greg Elwood, a Buffalo native who had no idea who Hodges was, saw the story online and wanted to help him out.
Elwood created a GoFundMe page for the veteran, hoping that people could see his story and help out even with the smallest contribution. Clearly moved by the story, he said, “He fought for us in WWII and now he needs our help to fight for his home.”
Although the asking amount was $50,000, Elmwood was just hoping for the best. And it turns out, he received much more than expected.
The original goal was $50,000, and the fundraiser reached over $110,000.
This was more than enough for Johnnie Hodges to get his home back! The house where he had lived with his wife and raised his children was his again.
“I didn’t worry because I know God takes care of everything,” Hodges said.
It had worked out in the end; the community had rallied together to give this veteran and his children their house back, and it meant everything to them.
Hodges was just a man who put the wellbeing of his beloved wife before anything else. But thanks to more than 2,000 people, Hodges returned to the home where he was happy, the home he never should have left.
Watch the video below: