J.T. Haley had a terrific idea.
The resident of Little Manatee Springs, Fl., wanted to build a memorial honoring veterans and first responders in his small retirement community.
“It took us over four months to put it together. We’re a bunch of old guys in the heat and the summertime. It was kind of brutal,” Haley told Fox 13 TV. “We just wanted to honor everybody because all over the country this day and time, it just seems to be disappearing.”
So he rallied neighbors, and in a matter of a few months, they had their memorial up.
Now, it’s down.
The company that operates the retirement community, Hometown America Communities, said the residents put it up without permission — “illegally built by residents without notifying the company” was the exact phrase — and that it’s unsafe.
So they tore it down.
The station said that it contacted inspectors who were unaware of any unsafe structure.
The company says that it will build a similar structure nearby the old one, but it now has an unnecessary controversy on its hands. If, in fact, the structure is unsafe, they could have applauded the residents for honoring the very people who keep us safe, and work with them to re-locate the memorial and reinforce the structure.
As it stands, it looks like someone was put off because the community didn’t get permission first, and now, there are a bunch of hard feelings.
“I felt insulted. I really did. I’m a Vietnam vet. I just felt like…it was an insult,” resident Jerry Watkins said.
And Haley summed it up well.
“It’s just a bad feeling in the park right now. And it’s a shame because it started off being a wonderful feeling.”