The story of a 90-year-old World War II veteran getting evicted from his home touched many hearts around the world.
In July 2014, Johnnie Hodges Sr. was taken out of his house in Buffalo, New York by police on a stretcher after he refused to leave.
Hodges told the Buffalo News that he’d worked a “lifetime” for the house, and wanted to stay.
“I’d like to be here until I leave this world,” he said.
But he had apparently defaulted on a loan, using the money to take care of his wife Flora. After a struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, Flora passed away the same month Johnnie was kicked out.
Dramatic pictures of Hodges being removed from his house went viral, and a local businessman, Greg Elwood, decided to take action and start a GoFundMe on Hodges behalf.
“[I] have a tremendous amount of respect for the greatest generation, and just felt really compelled to help out a veteran who had just been evicted from his home,” Elwood told WGRZ.
Within four months people had donated an astonishing $110,000. Donations came from as far away as Norway.
On November 6, Hodges was finally able to move back into his home, with local officials, fellow veterans, and other community members coming by to thank him for his service and welcome him back.
“Well, I don’t know what to say, but I will say first thank God for doing everything that he did for us,” Hodges said.
The vet said he still misses his wife, though.
“My wife was a beautiful lady — a kind lady, a Christian lady — and she did everything she could to please everybody.”
November 6 will now be known in Buffalo as John H. Hodges Sr. Day.