Letter tells man to take down sign or ‘face the consequences’

Willi Segeth in his front yard next to the sign he put up.

While most of Mesa County sleeps tonight, Willi Segeth has other plans.

After taking a nap and enjoying a German beer in the afternoon, he’ll settle into a rocking chair in his garage at nightfall, hidden behind a screen. He’ll light a cigarette, careful to use the lighter from his car so there’s no detectable flame. A buddy from the VFW Post 1247 — a fellow retired Army soldier — likely will sit with him at his Redlands home.

Then he’ll watch.

Segeth is on the lookout for the person who took offense to his political sign that takes a shot at Democrats, the person who mailed him a letter calling him a vulgar name and told Segeth he was “looking for trouble and property damage” with signs such as his. The letter writer also instructed Segeth to take down the sign or “face the consequences.”

The author signed it: “A nearby neighbor.”

“I don’t mind if he has a different opinion,” Segeth said. “But to be this harsh and threaten me?”

Segeth, who said he spent 30 years in the Army, put up the sign in the front yard of his Baseline Road home on Oct. 4. The sign reads: “Vet’s need help/Send Congressional Democrats to Iraq.”

The 74-year-old Republican said the sign’s message is aimed at anyone critical of the Iraqi war. He said he supports the war, although he noted he’s “not happy” with President Bush.

Segeth said he took the sign with him to the Veterans Day parade in downtown Grand Junction last year. He expected to hear boos and derision but instead, “I received a lot of applause.”

On Tuesday, his wife of 48 years, Hannelore, opened an envelope addressed to “resident.” There was no return address.

“Daddy, I got a love letter for you,” she told him after reading it. On Wednesday, he filed a report with Grand Junction police and met with a representative of the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office.

Segeth said he has no intention of removing the sign, which is paired with a McCain-Palin sign. In fact, he plans to keep it up until a week after the election ends — the limit set by state law in covenant-protected subdivisions. And just in case the letter writer or anyone else has thoughts otherwise, he intends to man his post in his garage each night until he himself takes the sign down.

“My hope only is that I catch him,” Segeth said. “If I catch him, he will never, ever write me a letter (again).”

And just what does that mean?

Segeth claims there are two things he’s never done in his life: obtain his fixed-wing pilot’s license or get tossed in jail. He’ll gladly mark one off his list to defend his sign.

“I’ll happily go in goose steps to jail,” he said.


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