Author Topic: Neighbors Petition to Stop Bronze Star Recipient From Building a Home in Their Area, and You Won’t Believe Why  (Read 396 times)

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Offline Rapunzel

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Neighbors Petition to Stop Bronze Star Recipient From Building a Home in Their Area, and You Won’t Believe Why
Sep. 27, 2013 8:32am Liz Klimas

A two-time recipient of the bronze star who served two tours in Afghanistan, where as a result of combat he lost hearing in one ear, might have felt some security for his wife and three children when he found out they qualified for a Habitat for Humanity home in Illinois.

But U.S. Army Sgt. Brian Wood, who is still an active member of the National Guard and works as a warehouse manager, is receiving less than a warm welcome from some his new neighbors as petitions have been filed against the construction of the house, the Peoria Journal Star reported.
sgt brian wood with family and rep aaron schock

Sgt. Brian Wood with his wife Julie and children and Rep. Aaron Schock when it was announced earlier this year they would receive a Habitat for Humanity home. (Photo via Peoria Journal Star)

The issue? That the Habitat for Humanity home would not fit in with the rest of the homes in Morton — more specifically, they’re worried the house would be made of wood, not brick.

Phil Luciano for the Journal Star reported Matt Sommer, a four year resident in the neighborhood, saying he saw a petition with about 10 signatures regarding the Habitat house.

“Do you realize, that it’s going to made of wood, not brick?” Sommer recalled of a woman about 75 years old saying when she knocked on his door.

    “It almost makes you feel you’re not welcome.” — Sgt. Wood

When Wood returned from Afghanistan, one of his major worries was a lack of affordable housing for his family. This is what led the 28-year-old father to Habitat, according to the Journal News. The veteran had to qualify for the home and is excited to get into the neighborhood, which is a suburb of Peoria.

“We were blessed to get to go to Morton. We know it’s wonderful community,” he told the Journal News.

When he learned about the petition against the wood home, Wood said he and his wife were surprised and “really hurt.”

“It almost makes you feel you’re not welcome,” he told the newspaper.

Lea Anne Schmidgall, executive director of the local Habitat for Humanity chapter, told Luciano with the Journal Star that neighbors were too quick to jump to conclusions, noting that the charity makes sure the houses it builds fit in with surrounding homes.

“If we have to add brick, we’ll do it,” Schmidgall said.

Construction of the home is set to begin in the spring.

Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) announced in July that he would be the Master Building Sponsor for the project, meaning he would assume financial responsibility for it.

“It’s a tremendous honor for me to sponsor the Veteran Build home for Sergeant Brian and Julie Wood. The Wood family is the embodiment of a generation who stood up in response to the attacks on September 11, 2001,” Schock said in a statement at the time.

“Brian’s exemplary military service speaks for itself and includes two Bronze Stars. As a military spouse, Julie answered the call of duty alongside her husband serving as the unwavering foundation for their family and raising their three children while Brian was deployed,” he continued. “The Wood family has sacrificed immensely over the last decade in service to our country. This Habitat home is a small token from myself and a very grateful community for what the Wood family has done for all of us.”

“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Offline happyg

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Snobs! I would never move to an area that has a neighbor group who dictates how you live or what you live in. I understand not wanting shacks, but matching houses? Ridiculous!

Offline raml

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As long as the home fits in the neighborhood like Habitat for humanity says I don't see what their beef is about. I understand what the neighbors are worried about housing isn't cheap and you don't want your property values to go down. People put their life saving into a home and do want to protect it that is why home owners associations came about. I have lived in areas where you were required to have a certain number of sq ft and the outside design had to be OK'D by a panel or even a person and I see no problem with that either. A person has the option of living in areas that do have restrictions which I prefer or to building or buying elsewhere this is still a free country. Even when we bought acreage in the country and built a custom home the people we bought from had put a private rd in and required a home of at least 2000sq ft ours was 3600 sq ft plus they required that he ok our house design. He was just a farmer that gave his kids property to build on and he built a home to retire in too and wanted the area to keep it's value. We did make a good bit of money on this home due to how he  put in the restrictions. He was a great neighbor too even though we were all suppose to keep the private road up he had construction equipment and did it himself and wouldn't let us give him any money for it so we were always doing little favors and giving him small gifts to show our appreciation. He also plowed our driveways in the winter we had a snow blower and finally gave it to my dad since the neighbor would laugh at Rob as he used it and just plow the 375 ft long driveway in minutes.

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