WWII veteran, 90, evicted from his home on a stretcher

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A WORLD War II veteran, who fell behind on his mortgage payments after spending almost all of his income on his sick wife, was evicted from his home and physically removed from the property on a stretcher.

Johnnie Hodges, a 90-year-old Navy veteran of World War II, was forced out of the home that he lived in for some 60 years last week.

Hodges lived in his Buffalo, New York, home with his wife for decades, and about four years ago, Hodges spent most of his income caring for his wife who had Alzheimer’s disease.

In the process, he defaulted on his mortgage and amassed debt totaling $73,000 to M&T Bank, reported The Root.

Last week, Hodges was evicted, literally taken from his home on a stretcher, after a two-hour standoff with US marshals.

The bank told the Buffalo News that it tried everything to prevent this from happening, but Hodges didn’t accept any of its offers.

“It’s a sad day for everyone involved because this outcome could have been avoided,” C. Michael Zabel, vice president of corporate communications at M&T, said in a statement.

According to the Buffalo News, around October 2011, Hodges was sent a notice stating that he had defaulted on his home loan, according to court documents.

A meeting was set up between the bank and Hodges in May 2012 to figure out a way to keep Hodges in his home. Hodges reportedly didn’t show up to the meeting. Court records showed that Hodges was sent notice of an upcoming sale in December 2013 and didn’t respond or appeal. The house was sold in foreclosure in January 2014.

Since the sale, the bank reportedly delayed Hodges’ eviction three times, but Hodges told media – day before he was to be evicted in June – that he had faith.

“There’s a man upstairs saying everything is going to be all right,” he told the Buffalo News, and the eviction was postponed.

A potential buyer, a disabled veteran who sympathised with Hodges’ situation, offered to buy the home from the bank and allow Hodges to stay for just $1 a year, but when the buyer discussed renting out an upstairs apartment in the 3,200-square-foot home to help recoup money on his investment, the deal fell apart.

There were fundraisers and several donations from people who wanted to help, but when Hodges realised that the home wasn’t going to be in his name, he didn’t have any interest in negotiating with the bank any longer.

So, on July 9, the 90-year-old man who had lived in his house for some 60 years, walked onto the porch and told everyone in listening distance “They’re going to have to take me – I’m not leaving.”

He told police to take him out in handcuffs, but they refused, and after two hours of negotiating, an ambulance crew and police officers lifted him from his porch chair and placed him on a stretcher and rolled him away from his home.

Hodges was reportedly transported to a mental health evaluation by VA Western New York Health Care System.

After the 90-year-old was taken away, movers walked into the home with boxes to pack up 60 years worth of memories. The bank has paid for two large storage units for the first two months and after that, the debt falls to his family.

Hodges’ daughter believes that more could have been done for her father who spent 60 years in the only home she has known.

“I know there’s such a thing as debt forgiveness,” Hodges’ daughter, Robin. “I think this should have been forgiven.”

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  1. what a world we live in, when after a lifetime of service to your country, your country has no place for you.