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Letter: Bank should have allowed veteran to stay in his home

Bank should have allowed veteran to stay in his home

My heart sank into my stomach upon reading the news that Johnnie Hodges Sr., a 90-year-old World War II veteran, was evicted from his home of 50 years. After reading the initial Buffalo News article a few weeks ago, which brought to light Hodges’ financial troubles and M&T Bank’s threat of foreclosure, I had desperately hoped that the bank would reconsider taking this action and work with his daughter to keep Hodges in his family home. How foolish I was to think someone higher up in the bank with any modicum of compassion would understand the extenuating circumstances of this man. As always, it comes down to dollars and cents.

Based on what has been reported in the newspaper, this was not a man with a long history of shirking on his finances or a blemished past. Hodges is an elderly man who fell on hard times while caring for his ailing spouse – a man who served our country and wants what all of us want: To live out our twilight years independently in our family home. Not only did the bank essentially make this 90-year-old man homeless, it stole from him his ability to live out his final chapter in his family homestead, surrounded by years of memories – something he deserved.

Now Hodges will likely wind up living his final days in some sort of austere institution, despite having his mental faculties and ability to still move around. This wasn’t a young, able-bodied man with a history of default looking for special treatment; this is an elderly man who served his country, who cared for his demented wife until her passing, who just wanted to live out the rest of his days at home. And this is how he’s rewarded? By having all of his earthly possessions boxed up and placed in storage? How benevolent of M&T to offer to pay two months of storage for him. The powers-that-be ought to be ashamed, though I’m certain they won’t be.

Beth Kontrabecki Walters