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Surprise woman fighting HOA over tribute to her veteran brother

Posted: 11:34 PM, Oct 11, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-13 04:58:35Z

For more than ten years, Kendall Rasmusson has honored her little brother in every way she can. 

Her home in Surprise off 174th Avenue and Jomax Road is filled with his most prized possessions; from photos he's taken, medals earned, even his old uniform. 

"He meant the world to me," Rasmusson said, showing off every memory she has of him. 

Sgt. John Kyle Daggett died in May of 2008, he was an Army Ranger, serving in Iraq.  

"He was in a striker unit when he was told to move out," Rasmusson said. "That was when they shot an RPG into his striker vehicle." 

He was flown to a military hospital in Canada, and died several days later. Rasmusson says she was there and held his hand as he took his final breath. 

Now, she lives in Desert Oasis, a community run by a homeowners association, who now says Rasmusson's tribute to her brother's life outside her home, is against the rules. 

A red and white sign, stuck on her garage door, reads: "Freedom is not free, Remembering my brother, Sgt. John Kyle Daggett. Sept. 30, 1986, to May 15, 2008. US Army Airborne Ranger."

She also has some other things hung outside her doors, beyond Halloween decorations, two American flags, and a decorative piece that says "Love."

In April, Rasmusson says she started getting letters from her HOA, saying the sign violated the community's rules and was told she'd need to take it down. 

"I'm not sure why it was allowed for a whole year and then all of a sudden just you're not allowed to have this," she said. "This really means something, it's my brother, and we're honoring him, and I do feel like it's a little insulting to just call it a sign and saying just remove the sign."

She's appealed each violation notice, but so far, the HOA has denied her appeals, telling her she still needs to remove the sign, and pay a 50 dollar fine. The fines start at 25 dollars and go up the longer the violation is present. 

Rasmusson says she has no plans of doing either, though. She calls the HOA's response to her sign "impersonal." 

"It's not about the money," she added. "I just wish that I could keep it up and I wish they could see how much this means to me." 

Rasmusson  started an online petition  that already has more than 1,100 signatures from people pleading she be allowed to keep the tribute on display. 

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UPDATE (10/12): Since ABC15 aired this story, the managing company for the homeowners association for Desert Oasis in Surprise says they are waiving Rasmusson's fee's, and say they've asked the board to talk to the homeowners, in hopes of coming to a compromise. The company says they will likely be willing to agree to allow the Rasmusson's to have the sign up on certain military holidays.