(ZALESKI, Ohio) — An online fundraising effort has surpassed its goal to allow a 91-year-old man in Zaleski, Ohio, to buy back his home before his daughter has the chance to evict him from it.
Jaclyn Fraley, 35, and her grandfather, John Potter, started fundraising for enough money to make an offer on the home he built 56 years ago.
“It means a little bit of everything,” Potter said, when asked what his home means to him. “I bought the land when I was a teenager.”
After an ABC News story last week described Potter’s situation, Potter and his granddaughter have raised about $138,000, topping their goal of $125,000.
“So many people who don’t have grandparents anymore have adopted him from so far away,” Fraley said. “A lot of people have said, ‘I love you and you’re my grandpa’.”
Fraley said she is shocked and grateful by the 5,136 people who donated to the campaign in one month, including a large number of U.S. veterans.
“I kept refreshing the page,” Fraley said of her GoFundMe fundraising website once the ABC News story was published. “Everyone I knew was refreshing.”
The story goes back to 2004. It was then that Potter and his wife, who has since died, gave the general power of attorney to his daughter for future matters if they declined in health, including taking care of her autistic adult brother, now 63.
Potter’s daughter Janice Cottrill eventually used that power to convey the deed to the one-story home to herself. In 2010, Potter said he learned of the deed transfer and switched power of attorney to his granddaughter, Fraley.
Early this year, his daughter and her husband sent Potter an eviction notice, saying they had terminated his “existing lease.”
An eviction hearing will take place on June 12, during which the judge will have no choice but to evict Potter, Fraley told ABC News.
When Fraley called her grandfather on Thursday morning after reaching their fundraising goal, he said, “I never knew people could love an old man so much,” according to her.
Fraley said the money from the GoFundMe is deposited into a separate account, and she said she is willing to be “completely transparent” with how the money may be spent.
Next up, the home is getting appraised on Wednesday before Potter can make an offer on it.
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