Ohio Man, 91, Hopes He Raised Enough Money to Buy Back Home From Daughter Before Eviction

PHOTO: Jaclyn Fraley, pictured with her grandfather, John J. Potter, is hoping to stop her mother from evicting him from the home he built.

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 to take care of her autistic adult brother, now 63. His 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 for the home.

"I will at any point show what it's done and what it's doing," Fraley said of the money raised.

Potter, a World War II veteran, began working on the three-bedroom home when he was out of the service.

"When I got out of the army and got on my feet on the ground, I rented a power shovel and dug a hole in the ground, built a basement and built a house on top of it," Potter said.

When asked how much the home could be worth, Potter said he did not know.

"I didn't build it to see how much I could make it worth. I built it to live in," he said.

Fraley said at least one donor suggested Fraley take a vacation with the money that person donated. But Fraley declined the offer.

"I'm not going to do that with the money" she said.

Potter, who turns 92 on Thursday, has also received a phone call or two from scammers asking for his bank account information, now that he has received media attention.

"I told him, 'You direct those calls to me or Tim'," Fraley said of their attorney, Timothy Gleeson.

When asked how he plans to celebrate his birthday, Potter said, "I'll just take it as it comes."

Fraley is throwing him a potluck party on Saturday at his home.

"I'm more excited to celebrate his birthday than he is," she said.

Another online donor gave money after the financial goal was reached, saying Potter will have to have money not only for the home purchase but also for utilities, taxes and lawyer fees.

"He said, 'We want to make sure grandpa is set', Fraley said of that donor. "The comments have been so overwhelming."

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