Deadline extended as support grows for Henrico flagpole

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – A local war hero is standing his ground as a deadline approaches that could cost him dearly.

As we first reported last month, Colonel Van Barfoot of Henrico County, is being told to remove his flagpole, or face legal action. Friends and strangers are coming out to support him.

They want to help the Colonel keep his flagpole, which the Sussex Square community says is not allowed in neighborhood homeowner association by-laws.

Late this afternoon, the deadline was extended a week for the Colonel. A spokesman said that the homeowner association's board notified him this afternoon after an emergency meeting that it would agree to push back the deadline for removing the pole to Friday, Dec. 11.

Colonel Ban Barfoot didn't receive the Medal of Honor for being a pushover.  However, when it comes to his flagpole, the law may not be on his side.

A resolution signed by President Bush in 2006, reads: Homeowner associations may not adopt or enforce anything that would restrict someone from flying the American flag.

But, it adds, associations may put "reasonable restrictions" on the "way" the flag is flown, to protect their interests. The Code of Virginia says violators can be fined $10 a day.

Jay Peluso is an attorney who supports the colonel, and has offered to represent him, for free.

"Frankly, in this case, I think there's a middle ground that we can reach. And I don't see any reason why  this should go to trial," he said.

Despite all of this, the flagpole still stands. And the Colonel has been receiving calls all day, from veterans across the country, offering an opportunity to help. One person even said he would chain himself to that pole, if it'll help keep it there.

"I'm going to sit in the chair, and I'm going to attach handcuffs, and I'm gonna put it on there, and I'm  just gonna leave it there," said Peter Kaufman.

Demonstrating on a basketball hoop, Kaufman says he'll become friends with the flagpole, long enough to cover the colonel's fines, and other fees.

The Sussex Square Homeowner's Association offered no comment -- just one day before Friday's deadline.

"This is a special kind of stupid, that somebody can't understand that a war veteran -- probably one of the  most decorated war veterans alive on earth -- is being denied the chance to raise an American flag," Kaufman said.

We do know, board members at Sussex Square met today and voted unanimously to ask Senator Mark Warner's office to help reach a resolution.

Late this evening, the senator's office released this statement: "We intend to get to work right away to try to come up with a solution that's acceptable to both Col. Barfoot and to the homeowner's association."

We'll let you know what happens in the next 24 hours.

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