Lafayette

Feb 19, 2014 11:28 PM by Erin Steuber

HOA Hires Mediator to Deal with Military Welcome Banner

A welcome home sign for an Acadiana sailor is still unwelcomed in one Lafayette neighborhood and the story is sparking other veterans to take action.

As we reported a Lafayette family in the Frenchman's Creek subdivision took down a banner after a letter was sent from an attorney representing their homeowner's association.The letter stated they had 30 days to take the sign down with little explanation as to why. Now, the association has hired a legal mediator to address the situation. That mediator issued this statement:

"The Frenchman's Creek Homeowners Association has asked a well-respected professional mediator to contact the homeowner, Chester Pellegran, and create a dialogue in hopes of working out a solution. The association is still waiting for a response to the February 6th offer by the homeowners association for the welcome home sign to stay up a couple weeks prior to the service man's return and stay up during his leave and to be taken down after his deployment. This proposal has been approved and sent by the homeowners association many weeks ago. No response has ever been received from Mr. Pellegran."

But the family doesn't understand why they can't show their pride and support year round, and clearly, other veterans agree.

It's a simple banner for Petty Officer Third Class Anthony Marsiglia, who is deployed on an aircraft carrier, and due home in the next few weeks.

"I know the hardship that a veteran has to endure being away from home, and consequently the hardship that the family has to endure as well," said former Marine Christopher Babin.

After hearing about the story, Babin did his own research, writing a lengthy email which he sent all over the state.

"I voiced in there my concern that a family supports their veteran. Even if you don't, you should never try to stand in between that. That's really what it seemed like the homeowners association was doing," said Babin.

He took it a step further, placing a flag, and yellow ribbon, on the Frenchman's Creek subdivision sign.

"Freedom is something that we all cherish, and live each and everyday. I just felt like it was a good sign of that," said Babin.

But it didn't take long for those items to be removed, and for Babin to be contacted by a member of the homeowners association.

"I really just told him that he didn't have to answer to me. My goal was to get an explanation prompted from them for all veterans, and anyone this issue concerned," said Babin.

Just to recap, the only mention in the homeowners rules for signs has to deal with size requirements. We measured the sign for ourselves, it fits within those restrictions. We reached out to the attorney representing the homeowners association who said she couldn't comment any further on the matter. Marsiglia's family will meet with the homeowners association this weekend.

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