Heartbreak turns into hope: 84-year-old evicted veteran now in hotel after generous offers

Local News

An elderly veteran living in van after he became homeless, has a lot to be grateful for tonight.

A lot of you reached out to Local 4 News after we introduced you to Norman Poppe yesterday.

The 84-year-old veteran wound up homeless after being evicted from his Davenport apartment. He lived in his van in the cold for three days, but after sharing his story many of you called, sent emails, and asked how you can help Norman.

Just yesterday Poppe was living out of his van, but today a much different story.

Poppe says his life changed in just a matter of minutes from minimum to luxury. He says he had no idea that by sharing his story, that people would spring into action to help him out.

“I had no idea that this would be a development like this,” he says.

What a development it became, in fact while we were at Jimmy’s Pancake House in Bettendorf, people walked up to Poppe to show their support.

After the story aired, many QuadCitians like Jeff Grabau and Heather Quist reached out to see if there was any way they could help. In a matter of minutes they drove around to find Poppe, and his dog Charlie, to get them in a hotel.

“It’s not just us, It was thirty of us last night–30 of us in the matter of 15 minutes loading his stuff up. From the time I found his apartment with all of his stuff piled up. It took me 10 minutes to get a trailer 10 minutes to get back, and there were 20 people helping us,” says Grabau.

Although he was unsure of the help at first, he eventually accepted it.

Grabau says, “The 30 of us were pretty much not taking no for an answer.”

Poppe’s niece Monica Leahr hasn’t seen him since last year, she says when she saw the story she had no idea he was on the edge of eviction, and she knew she had to find him.

“I saw it on the news last night, and when I saw him. I said to myself that’s my uncle. I was in shocked,” says Leahr.

She has set up a GofundMe page, and she says she is grateful for the support he’s received.

“We’re just excited that he can get some help, and very grateful,” she says.

He wants to leave our viewers this message.

“I want to thank everybody, thank you,” says Poppe.

We asked Poppe is he still considering moving to New Mexico. He tells me he may be going there to visit for a week or two, and coming back to the Quad Cities where he calls home.

He says the love and support, has played a big part in him making that decision.

Poppe’s niece has set up a GoFundMe page, but there are other ways you can help, and that’s through his bank.

All Quad Cities I-H Mississippi Valley Credit Union locations are collecting donations. If your donation is by check Poppe’s last name is spelled P-o-p-p-e.

The wave of support that was shown for Poppe is truly what the Quad Cities community is all about,, and it’s why we’re proud here at Local 4 to call home.

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