While 90-year-old World War II veteran Johnnie Hodges cared for his wife, Fiora, who had Alzheimer’s, he fell behind on mortgage payments for his home of 60 years and was physically evicted.
Unbeknownst to Hodges, a man named Greg Elwood read about his pending eviction in the newspaper and on June 20, he decided to do something about it.
Elwood created a GoFundMe page for the veteran, and five months later, he had raised $110,000.
“Our original goal was $50,000, that was the amount that Robin needed to purchase the home back,” Elwood told ABC News. “It’s just a wonderful feeling to know that he’ll be back in that home to be able to celebrate the holidays with the family. He has a lot of memories in that home. It’s very clear he was close with his late wife Flora, and I just feel good knowing that he’s at peace.”
Hodges, who had to be forced out of his home on a stretcher because he refused to leave in July, is thrilled that he can move back in.
“I’m very happy to be back…and spend Christmas with my family in my home,” Hodges of Buffalo, New York, told the news outlet. “There’s nothing like being with your family. This is a beautiful home I have and it really is a pleasure to be here.”
He s also overjoyed thinking about the donations that came in from 2,000 strangers.
“I feel really good about the donations that everybody gave,” Hodges said. “I’m always happy when I’m in my home. I walk around, sit on my porch when it s a nice day and I enjoy the nice weather and my friends will come by.. there s no place like home.”
His daughter, Robin Hodges, met Elwood when he stopped by her father’s house for a welcome home party thrown by locals.
“I can’t say enough about Greg,” she says. “From day one, he’s had a heart of gold. He just wanted to help and it touched so many people.”
Robin told ABC that her father and her three children will be spending the holiday with Elwood and his family.