A San Antonio homeowners association has turned down a family's request to install a flag pole to honor the military -- including the family’s own son, who's serving overseas.
Darrell and Debbie Grimley live in a home in the Villages of Westcreek. Their son. Cpl. Matthew Grimley. is serving in the Army.
They have an Army flag flying near the garage door, a “U.S. Army Dad” sticker on a pickup truck and a “Proud Army Mom” sticker on a car.
Darrell Grimley said before Matthew deployed, the soldier asked the HOA about installing a 25-foot flag pole in the backyard.
"They didn't really see a real problem with it,” Darrell Grimley said. “It was a variance, but it probably could be approved and not be too much to worry about."
Matthew’s mother said she also spoke casually with the HOA.
"I talked with the people there at the HOA,” Debbie Grimley said. “They didn't seem to think there was going to be an issue of it."
So the family bought a 25-foot aluminum flag pole that was made in the U.S.A. with a gold ball on top. They got a 6-foot by 4-foot flag.
The family also put in their formal application to the HOA.
Then they got a letter from their homeowners association telling them their request for a flagpole was denied because the planned installation did not conform to height and placement guidelines.
The HOA is investigating what might have been said informally to the Grimleys but VWOA Board President John Steele said the rules are clear about flag pole height and placement.
"It clearly states 20 feet, front of the home," Steele said.
But he said he is sympathetic.
The flag in front of the HOA building is dedicated to those who serve.
"This is heartbreaking because you have a homeowner who wants to do in their opinion the right thing for a family member," Steele said.
And that family member is in disbelief. Debbie Grimley called her son overseas to give him the news.
"He said, 'Look, I'm risking my life for this flag,' and they don't want to allow us to do this," Debbie Grimley said.
The Grimleys do plan to appeal the denial to the HOA’s Architectural Review Committee as early as Tuesday.