Sergeant First Class Sean Gittens was terribly wounded from an improvised explosive device during his third combat tour this one in Iraq. A head injury resulting in a stroke left Sean unable to speak and paralyzed from the waist down. The Gittens family was residing in a rented home in the Knob Hill Subdivision of Evans Georgia which is basically a suburb of Augusta. No doubt the location was chosen by the Gittens family due to its proximity to Ft. Gordon and the Dwight D Eisenhower Medical Center.
Enter “Homes for our Troops” an organization of volunteers and true Americans that believes the sacrifices of America’s military personnel such as Sgt. Gittens should not be ignored. Homes for our Troops builds homes for severely disabled as in wounded troops who served this nation and made incredible sacrifices. When Homes for our troops heard of Sgt. Gittens situation, they offered to build him a handicapped accessible home and the Knob Hill subdivision was a logical choice.
However, the Property Owners Association (POA) in Knob Hill had other ideas. Records dating back to December 2010 indicate that the POA rather than throwing their enthusiastic support behind the project were less than cooperative. An ominous air hung over the entire project.
From the start, Knob Hill’s POA via its president Rick Trump and board members Kim Faircloth, Matt Sorrells, Cheryl Salter, Carl Dowling, Eric Schumacher and Tommy Rogers did not want the Gittens’ home built in Knob Hill. It isn't so much what the POA initially did as what they didn't do. The POA sent out no newsletters to Knob Hill residents announcing that this most admirable of projects was in development. The POA made no appeal to the neighborhood asking everyone to pitch in and show their support and gratitude to a wounded vet. Rather quickly, an antagonistic relationship developed between Homes for our Troops and the POA. It was a “delicate” situation for the Knob Hill POA; patriotic Americans honor those who serve this nation and hold in contempt, anyone who would not do the same… like the folks at Knob Hill. The dilemma facing the POA then was how to APPEAR to be supporting the project while simultaneously sabotaging it. Which is where POA president Rick Trump comes into the picture and a little slice of true Southern hospitality rears its ugly head.
Rick Trump is immediately recognizable to most people as a douche bag. It is precisely because Rick is a douche bag that the POA of the Knob Hill subdivision elected Rick to the office of President. And it is only because Rick is a douche bag that he would assume the office in the first place. A normal person would not needlessly place themselves in a situation where the rest of the world would simply shake its head, marvel at the stupidity and mutter, “What a douche bag”…. Welcome to Rick’s world.
Rick, who it apparently makes his living at the Augusta franchise of the University of Phoenix a diploma Mill that feeds in large part on the military, lacked the integrity to simply tell Sgt. Gittens the truth: that Sgt. Gittens was not welcome in Knob Hill. More disturbing is the complete lack of respect that Rick and the Knob Hill POA displayed towards a wounded veteran of this nation. It matters little which side of this issue you are on, Sgt. Gittens as a disabled veteran should have been told up front that he was not welcome in the neighborhood. Gittens at least deserved that.
Instead, Rick tried to appear sympathetic to the plight of Sgt. Gittens while simultaneously signing a “Cease and Desist” order to stop construction on the Gittens’ home. Rick talks about the architectural “standards” in the bylaws which are in fact merely “guidelines” which the POA exercises full discretionary control over anyway. Rick kept raising issues such as “drainage” that everyone agrees are very minor and easily corrected. Rick made gung-ho statements like “We look forward to lending a hand to build this home” while doing literally everything he could to stop the project. Rick says the house doesn’t have 2700 square feet but then, a number of homes in the subdivision don’t have this sqaure footage and it isn’t in the guidelines anyway. The fact is, every single issue Rick and the POA raised could have been ignored simply because the POA exercises the sole discretionary authority to make these decisions. This isn’t rocket science nor is it actual law it is nothing but a series of “bylaws” that honest patriotic Americans would have shelved in a New York minute except the POA at Knob Hills did not want this wounded vet in their neighborhood.
On the evolutionary scale, slightly below Douche bags and maybe a small step up from pond scum are attorneys and Knob Hill has their very own board member and resident barrister: Carl Dowling. In an interview with WAGT TV, Carl who obtained the “Cease and Desist” order forcing the project to be stopped stated that the house being built was below the value of other homes in the neighborhood and would bring down property values. Attorneys have this remarkable facility to strip things to their essence and then place a dollar sign in front. So thanks to Carl, we can now determine that this whole thing comes down to property values. Local realtors weighing in on this called the concern ludicrous. Not sure Evans Georgia is somewhere most Americans would want to live when the locals would pay top dollar to live along side an attorney and the presence of a genuine war hero pulls down property values?
It is what it is: no one on the POA board resigned; no outcry from the Knob Hill residents demanding the board step down or that the board alter its stance; no apology was made to the Gittens; no one on the POA made any attempt at reconciliation and since it was the POA that took the extraordinary step of going to court and obtaining a Cease and Desist order, obviously the POA was doing everything in its power to keep this home from being built. Simple truth: Had the POA wanted this home built, it would already be built. Rick, you are a soulless and pathetic man with a correspondence school education and frankly, you were played. I hope you don’t have any children because every time your kids meet someone new, a quick web search is going to turn up this story and no one deserves to be saddled with a father capable of something like this…. except maybe you Rick.