Medal of Honor Veteran ordered to stop flying flag by homeowner association

This is a photo of Van Barfoot in 1944 when he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

This is a photo of Van Barfoot in 1944 when he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Col. Van T. Barfoot, a local Medal of Honor recipient, is under the gun from his Henrico County community’s homeowner association.

In a five-paragraph letter to Barfoot that he received yesterday, Barfoot is being ordered to remove a flagpole from his yard. The decorated veteran of three wars, now 90 years old, raises the American flag every morning on the pole, then lowers and folds the flag at dusk each day in a three-corner military fashion.

In a priority mail letter, the Coates & Davenport law firm in Richmond is ordering Barfoot to remove the pole by 5 p.m. Friday or face “legal action being brought to enforce the Covenants and Restrictions against you.” The letter states that Barfoot will be subject to paying all legal fees and costs in any successful legal proceeding pursued by the homeowner association’s board.

Barfoot’s daughter said this evening that news reports about the association order have prompted an outpouring of sympathy and offers of help from people following her father’s ordeal.

Tonight, the Sussex Square Homeowners Association issued a statement reiterating its position that Barfoot directly violated the association board’s denial of his request to erect a flagpole.

“This is not about the American flag. This about a flagpole,” the statement reads.

Barfoot lives in the Sussex Square community in far western Henrico; its board of directors rejected a plea from Barfoot in July to approve the pole, disallowing the fixture on aesthetic grounds.

There is no provision in the community’s rules expressly forbidding flagpoles, Barfoot’s daughter said. But she said the board ruled against her father’s fixture and ordered it removed in July, deciding that free-standing flag poles are not aesthetically appropriate. Short flag stands attached to porches dot the community.

“Dad sort of feels like this is the end,” said Margaret Nicholls, Barfoot’s daughter, who lives a few doors away. But she said this morning that she and her husband are attempting to generate support for her father’s cause, a flag-raising rite that he has undertaken for most of his life.

Barfoot received the Medal of Honor on the battlefield during World War II in Italy and fought as well in the Korean and Vietnam wars. A portion of a highway in rural Mississippi, his native state, was named in his honor this fall. A building at McGuire Veterans Hospital in Richmond also carries his name.

Barfoot began regularly flying the flag on Veteran’s Day this year despite the Sussex Square board’s decision.

He said in November that not flying the flag would be a sacrilege to him.

“There’s never been a day in my life or a place I’ve lived in my life that you couldn’t fly the American flag,” he said.

Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Medal of Honor recipient Col. Van T. Barfoot is being ordered to remove a flagpole from his yard in western Henrico County.  Photo by Joe Mahoney- Times-Dispatch

Medal of Honor recipient Col. Van T. Barfoot is being ordered to remove a flagpole from his yard in western Henrico County. Photo by Joe Mahoney- Times-Dispatch

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MilitaryConnection.com extends our appreciation to the American Legion.  The Legion  has offered to help Colonel Barfoot’s with his legal expenses to fight these actions by the association.

Fighting for the flag is not new to The American Legion, the nation’s leading authority on flag etiquette. Since 1989, The Legion has been fighting for a constitutional amendment that would grant Congress the authority to protect Old Glory from desecration.

Many of us live in residential developments that are governed by an Association.  Debbie Gregory, CEO of MilitaryConnection.com, currently serves as President of her community HOA.  “I wonder what happened to being reasonable and exercising common sense?  An HOA should serve the best interests of the community.   I cannot believe that Colonel Barfoot, a true hero flying America’s flag is inconsistent with the best interests of this community. On the contrary, the HOA Board has created negative publicity and ridicule as well as discouraging potential buyers who might consider living in this community. If I lived in Colonel Barfoot’s community, I’d consider electing a new Homeowner Board of Directors.  We should honor our heroes, not harass them.”

Please weigh in – what do you think?

GO ANGELS!

MilitaryConnection.com is honored to work with Soliders Angels. This is a wonderful way to let those who serve know they are appreciated and to support them over the holidays.

American military personnel stationed in the war zones will soon receive Holiday care packages from nonprofit Soldiers’ Angels. This holiday season, Soldiers’ Angels aims to ship 140,000 Wrapped in Holiday Spirit gifts to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and is calling on all Americans to join the final push to that goal.

Each Wrapped in Holiday Spirit care package includes a handmade “Blanket of Belief,” snacks, socks, holiday cards and other treats with a personal note of thanks and support. Troops in the most remote regions of Afghanistan will also receive beautiful stainless steel coffee mugs. The “Blankets of Belief” forming the heart of the care package tell America’s service men and women, “We believe in you.” When they receive a Blanket of Belief, service members know that somebody back home remembers them, that somebody labored over a handmade item with love and belief in them.

Founder Patti Patton-Bader describes how important it is for the troops to know America believes in them and supports them, especially during this time. “Holidays away from home are very tough on our deployed troops,” she says. “Please help us show them America cares–be there for a hero this holiday season.”

Soldiers’ Angels is soliciting donations, as well as offering a 15% discount at www.AngelsStore.org on Wrapped in Holiday Spirit care packages that allow patriotic Americans to order a package for a specific soldier or have their gifts sent to “Any Soldier” with a personal note of gratitude and support.

Donations for the Wrapped in Holiday Spirit project can be made online at http://soldiersangels.org/holidays-for-heroes.html, or sent to Soldiers’ Angels, 1792 E Washington Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91104.

Care packages at www.AngelsStore.org are offered as a convenience for those who support America’s troops, giving them an easy way to send a personal message with a gift especially designed to meet the needs and interests of deployed service members. The cost includes shipping, and any payment above the base cost of the contents helps to fund the many military support projects of volunteer-led non-profit Soldiers’ Angels.

SOLDIERS’ ANGELS is a volunteer-led 501(c)(3) non-profit providing aid and comfort to U.S. military personnel and families. Over 200,000 volunteers also provide assistance to the wounded, support for veterans, comfort for families of the fallen, and immediate response to unique difficulties. www.SoldiersAngels.org, TAX ID #20-0583415

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The Greatest Generation

My Great Uncle Carl Grossman was invited by Tom Brokaw to the dedication of a new venue at the National World War 2 Museum in New Orleans.  The event was held on November 5 and 6th.  I have attached a newspaper clip from the New Orleans Times-Picayune detailing the event and also an Associated Press clip describing the new  WW II documentary that is playing in the new theater there.  The ceremonies were held to unveil the theater and documentary, narrated by Tom Hanks.

Tom Brokaw arranged for Wal-Mart to fly down Uncle Carl and his wife on its private jet, accompanied by Wal-Mart VP Joe Venezia, a graduate of West Point.  Wal-Mart also paid for all of their expenses in New Orleans. This came about after Brokaw learned that Uncle Carl was the last of eight Grossman brothers from Pittsburgh who fought in World War II, and that Uncle Carl, who will be 90 in December, was still working, as a greeter at the Wal-Mart in Troy, Michigan, in the Detroit area, where he has lived since the 1950’s.

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Left: Tom Hanks & Carl Grossman. Right: Tom Brokaw & Carl Grossman

Several family members attended and were part of a VIP group of about 250 people Thursday night, Nov. 5, who saw a red carpet preview of the new museum documentary, Beyond All Boundaries.  At a reception that followed, Brokaw  asked Uncle Carl to stand up and told of his and his brothers’ service in WW II; he  said that the only way he could get Uncle Carl – who did not want to miss a day’s work — to the reception was to ask the chairman of Wal-Mart to give him a day off and fly him down. Uncle Carl received a rousing round of applause, and afterward was approached by numerous guests who wanted to meet him.

On Friday, he was among 250 WW II vets  — men and women —  who marched into the large official outdoor ceremony dedicating the new wing of the museum.  In addition to Brokaw and Hanks, the speakers included Sen. George McGovern, who was  a bomber pilot in WW II, and Mickey Rooney.

Earlier in the week, on Wednesday, Uncle Carl was interviewed for several hours inside the museum by the Today Show, which is preparing a feature on him and the Fighting Grossmans to air sometime in December (when I know the date, I shall inform you).

The museum events and the reactions of the people who attended were memorable, emotional, and inspiring.  As the documentary and the speakers stated, the dedication of the men and women who fought in WW II literally saved our country and changed America and the world  — and we must remember and honor them ,and the lessons of WW II , before they all pass. If you want to learn a little more about the museum, go to  http://www.nationalww2museum.org/

Oh — also take a look at the attached photos of Uncle Carl with the two Toms –Hanks and Brokaw.  Uncle Carl is the young and handsome guy on the right!

My sincere thanks to Tom Brokaw and Sam Walton along with Joe Venezia of Wal-Mart for their kindness to my Amazing and Great uncle Carl Grossman.  Uncle Carl is 90 and refuses to stop working or take a day off.   He is now a Greeter at Wal-Mart in Michigan.

There were 11 children (10 boys and one girl, the youngest.   Eight of the brothers served our nation in World War II and all survived to lead productive lives.   They are truly the “Greatest  Generation”!

Happy Veterans Day To All Those Who Serve, Past & Present,

Debbie Gregory, CEO
MilitaryConnection.com
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American Airlines is There For Those Who Serve

Sky Ball VII with Lee Greenwood, Gary Sinise, Tony Orlando, Steve Amerson, Dale Dye and others

American Airlines and the Fort Worth Airpower Foundation are coming together once again to raise money for North Texas military families. Sky Ball VII is taking place on Saturday, Oct. 24 at American’s Alliance maintenance base, and you are invited to attend the gala.

Many families struggle to meet their financial obligations when their loved ones are called to active duty, in many cases for multiple tours overseas. Proceeds from Sky Ball provide financial assistance to these military families. Support comes in many forms, including financial aid for deployed families, departure and welcome-home receptions, support for welfare and relief projects of the units assigned in North Texas, and delivering care packages and other gifts to the soldiers wounded in battle who are recuperating at military hospitals.

The Sky Ball VII gala will feature a moving program, including entertainment headlined by Tony Orlando, a special guest appearance by fellow patriot Lee Greenwood and the voice of the Medal of Honor Foundation and “America’s Tenor,” Steve Amerson. Also appearing will be television and film celebrities, including Gary Sinise, star of the “CSI: NY” and “Forrest Gump;” and Dale Dye, star of “Saving Private Ryan” and “Band of Brothers,” among others. In addition, there will be a special appearance by inventor Dean Kamen, known for the Segway and iBOT mobility devices; and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Mike Durrant (ret), former POW and the pilot from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment depicted in the movie, “Blackhawk Down.”

All proceeds from Sky Ball directly benefit the families of reservists and members of the National Guard stationed at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth. Last year’s event alone raised more than $500,000 for families of deployed troops.

A Tribute to Military Healthcare Professionals

MilitaryConnection.com has the highest respect for military healthcare professionals. They are the best! Military healthcare professionals use leading edge medicine to heal those who serve. Our CEO, Debbie Gregory, wrote an article for the National Association of Healthcare Recruiters (NAHCR) Newsletter. The title says it all: “Military Healthcare Professionals – They Walk On Water“.

MilitaryConnection.com has many resources for healthcare professionals. They include but are not limited to:

If you are seeking viable candidates including physicians, nurses and all allied health, you should be checking out the options on MilitaryConnection.com. If you are a candidates looking for excellent jobs, register as a Job Seeker. When the next tour is back home, it’s on MiltiaryConnection.com – The Go To Site

LET’S GET OUT & SHOW GARY SINISE OUR SUPPORT THIS SATURDAY

Gary Sinise who stars in CSI has the heart of a patriot. He is an actor who uses his celebrity to support those who serve, past and present, in so many different and positive ways. Gary is a very good friend to the military and veteran communities.

MilitaryConnection.com commends Gary Sinise

Let’s get out and support Gary Sinise this Saturday, September 26th for an incredible event. Gary Sinise presents the best of the GI Film Festival at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA. The parking is ample and free.

gary-sinise-gi-festival

The fun begins at 10:00 a.m. and lasts until 9:00 p.m. when there will be a Special VIP Reception with Gary Sinise. Come Join Us.

Purchase tickets online at www.gifilmfestival.com

Newman’s Own Award Winners Honored

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THOMAS BROWN / STAFF Newman’s Own President Tom Indoe, left, with Tammy Fisher, trustee, Fisher House Foundation, right, gives the top award of $15,000 dollars and a Newman’s Own bust to Dave Mahler of USA Together during the 2009 Newman’s Own Awards at the Pentagon on Sept 10. Eleven grants were given to organizations for their plans to improve the quality of life for military families.

Eleven organizations received a total of $75,000 in grants, ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 apiece, for their efforts to improve the quality of life for the military community.

USA Together, a Web site that links wounded service members with donors, was the overall winner, receiving a $15,000 grant and a bust of Paul Newman, provided by Newman’s Own, which sponsored the competition, along with the Fisher House Foundation and the Military Times Media Group, which publishes Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times and Marine Corps Times.

USA Together’s founder, Dave Mahler, said he plans to use the $15,000 to create a program working with other veterans service organizations to allow more help to flow to veterans with unmet needs.

Since USA Together became fully operational in December, donors have helped about 150 families through the site. Needs vary from help with child care costs or purchasing new tires, to help making a mortgage payment or buying a mattress.

“The requests are shockingly mundane,” Mahler said.

“This is the most polite, grateful, thankful group of people I’ve ever worked with,” Mahler said. “These service members are a joy to work with. They thank you for answering the phone.”

During the ceremony, Mahler said his initial idea was “let’s just put the list on the Internet and people will step up.”

Although getting the idea up and running was harder than one would think, he said, “Americans have proved they would step up and meet these needs.”

On any given day, you won’t see a lot of requests for help on the USA Together Web site, Mahler said; there are so many donors out there ready to help injured and wounded service members, and their families and Gold Star families, that requests are fulfilled quickly.

Remembering 9/11 & Freedom Walk

Tomorrow is Patriot Day and a special day to commemorate September 11th, 2001.  We remember those Americans who were lost on that horrific day.  We honor all of those who serve our nation past and present.   We honor our everyday heroes, fire personnel, police, doctors, nurses and emergency medical personnel.

MilitaryConnection.com is honored to partner for the 4th year with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library to produce the 9/11 Freedom Walk.  Personally, for me, this is a day to come together as Americans.  We may have differences and different points of view.  At the end of the day, we are all Americans and we live in the greatest country in the world.

Please find below our Media Advisory for this event and remember and honor all of our nation’s Patriots and one another.

Warm regards,

Debbie Gregory, CEO
MilitaryConnection.com

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* * * MEDIA ADVISORY * * *

PROGRAM ANNOUNCED FOR 4TH ANNUAL 9-11 FREEDOM WALK

What:
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library (www.reaganlibrary.com) is joining forces with MilitaryConnection.com to bring to our city the fourth annual Simi Valley Freedom Walk on Friday, September 11th.   Please join us as we remember the victims of September 11th, and honor our troops who continue to fight for freedom.

Program:

4:15PM – Pre-program patriotic music; 1st Marine Division Band, United States Marine Corps, Camp Pendleton

5:00PM – Program begins, which includes:

  • Colonel Nicholas Marano, Commanding Officer, United States Marine Corps, Camp Pendleton
  • J.R. Martinez, a wounded warrior who has since become a breakout star on “All My Children”
  • Bonnie Carroll, founder, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors
  • Flyover

5:30PM – Walk begins – The 1.8 mile route will begin in the Reagan Library’s courtyard and will conclude at
Rancho Madera Community Park off of Wood Ranch Parkway.

6:00 PM – Walk concludes.  Light refreshments will be offered and Air National Guard Band of the Southwest will provide post-program musical entertainment at the park.  Complementary shuttle service will return the
participants to their cars at the Library.

To register, go to www.reaganfoundation.org/events and click on “9-11 Freedom Walk”, or call 805-522-2977.  The first 1,000 people who register for the walk will receive a free “Freedom Walk” t-shirt and an American flag.

Also, from September 1st through September 30th the Reagan Library, in conjunction with “For The Troops” will be collecting donations for U.S. Soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan in the Library’s main lobby.  Items must be unwrapped and in original packaging, including: packets of trail mix, peanuts, gum, hard candy and beef jerky; snacks that are not heat sensitive and will not melt in hot temperatures; individual packets of lemonade or Crystal Light for water bottles; CDs and DVDs; used video games; AA batteries; stationery; and pre-paid phone cards.  Only miniature hygiene items will be accepted.

The Reagan Library and MilitaryConnection.com would like to thank the following sponsors for their generous support of this event:
Air National Guard Band of the Southwest; The American Red Cross of Ventura County; The City of Simi Valley; CocaCola Enterprises; Command Performance Catering; Custom Printing; The Flag Factory; For The Troops; The Jelly Belly Candy Company; Larry Borovay of Simi Valley; Naval Base Ventura County; All American Audio Visual; Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District; Rebecca Davey and Sequoia Middle School Choir; RoadRunner Shuttle and Limousine Service; Rotary Club of Simi Sunrise; Starbucks of Simi Valley; USMC Camp Pendleton’s First Marine Division Band.

Where: The courtyard of The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, 40 Presidential Drive, Simi Valley, CA

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Nominate Your Top Military or Veterans Affairs Doctor

Silver Star Families of America and MilitaryConnection.com are on a quest to find the best Military and Veteran Affairs primary care physicians who serve you. We believe that those who serve and our Veterans deserve the leading edge healthcare and caring and compassionate physicians.

We want to recognize the best of the best who deliver military healthcare and veteran healthcare for the “Above & Beyond Primary Physician Awards”. The most important measure of how well a job a doctor is doing is through the patient’s feedback. The nomination and selection process for this program will totally be based on what those patients say. We encourage you to nominate deserving physicians.

Silver Star Families and MilitaryConnection.com will be profiling some of these fine physicians.

Nominate your Doctor!

In your email, please include the following:

  • Your Doctor’s full Name
  • The Hospital they are affiliated with
  • Why you feel this doctor should be nominated (any background you wish to include)
  • Your Name
  • Your Email & Phone number (for verification of the nomination)

List of Veteran Benefits/Government Websites & Information

MilitaryConnection.com works hard to provide our military and veteran communities excellent resources.  We find this list of Veteran Benefits Government Web-Sites and information on Veterans benefits and how to file/ask for them. Accordingly, there are many sites that explain how to obtain books, military/medical records, information and how to appeal a denied claim with the VA. Please pass this information on to every Veteran you know. Nearly 100% of this information is free and available for all veterans, the only catch is: you have to ask for it.

You will find all types of important and timely information on MilitaryConnection.com when you explore it. There are thousands of pages and something for everyone including jobs, Post 9/11 GI Bill information, pay charts, news and even golf courses and much more. When the next tour is back home, it’s on MilitaryConnection.com.  Please use and enjoy these resources and send us any that we you think are valuable. government web-sites