Homeowner Associations can have some pretty stringent rules. One HOA in Virginia went after a veteran for having a flag pole in his front yard.
Retired Col. Van T. Barfoot always had the utmost respect for the American flag and placed a 21-foot flagpole in his front yard. However, the HOA in his community said he must take the flagpole down, and if he didn’t, they would be forced to take legal measures against him.
After Barfoot’s career, he was not anywhere near willing to fall in line with the HOA. His career began in 1940 as an infantryman in the Army. Then, in World War II, he went to Italy.
In 1944, he was by Carona in a battle where he had to run through a minefield to take out a machine gun to save the rest of the men. While he was taking out the one, he took out two more and retrieved 17 prisoners.
Three Nazi tanks tried to take the machine guns places, but he took those ones out too, getting him a Medal of Honor for his bravery. After that, he fought in Korea and Vietnam, retiring in 1974.
At 90, he had one last battle against his Virginia HOA. But, he told the AP, ” In the time I have left, I plan to fly the flag without interference.”
Taking Legal Actions
The HOA took legal actions against Barfoot, sending him a letter saying he needed to remove the flagpole from his property immediately or else they would sue him to “enforce the covenants and restrictions against you.”
Barfoot had one leg up from the other battles in his past. But, this time, he was not alone. Since his story made national news, many people reached out to offer him assistance.
In Richmond, a law firm offered him a lawyer pro bono, while his Senator Mark Warner also offered to lend a hand. He even received a phone call from his former unit, the 157th Infantry, offering their help as well.
Naturally, with all that support, Barfoot won, and his HOA deservedly lost. However, he also had a hand in legislation that would prevent HOA’s from going after homeowners with flag poles.
Barfoot died two years after beating the HOA in 2012, leaving a lasting legacy.