This letter is in regards to the Wind Turbines in Falmouth, MA & is meant to reach those of you who perhaps do not know what the Town of Falmouth is currently, and for the past 7 years, putting some of our Falmouth residents & their families through. My Dad, Barry Funfar, is one of those residents. His entire family, is one of those families.
Perhaps not everyone realizes that there are many people in our town that are seriously, both physically & mentally, affected by the adverse effects of the wind turbines that were erected in Falmouth WITHOUT PROPER PERMITS in 2010 & 2011….two 1.65MWatt turbines that are of a size proven to cause serious harmful effects in some humans if placed & operated too close to residential areas.
So far, these machines & their harmful effects have resulted in some Falmouth residents having to close their businesses or move out of their homes, or both. Some had businesses at their homes, so there was no escaping…except to do just that…escape by having to leave their homes. There are residents in our town who would still be fighting for their rights to shut down & remove the wind turbines & live peacefully again in their own homes, however financially, they could not continue to afford the legal fees to do so. Some people in Falmouth continue the legal battle yet have to leave their homes during the hours of turbine operation because it is too unbearable otherwise. Some resort to sleeping in their basements to attempt to get away from the overwhelming vibrations of these machines. Symptoms experienced from the turbines vary amongst individuals but examples include: anxiety, panic, dizziness, headaches, sleep disturbance, blood pressure elevation, nausea, vertigo, stress, ear pressure or pain, memory & concentration deficits, irritability & anger….just to name a few.
I believe it is very important that people know that the tactics the Town of Falmouth is using to break down those trying to stand up for their rights, in my opinion, are sickening, demeaning, and outright wrong. Although even the Barnstable Superior Court ruled the turbines were a nuisance to some people whose homes were nearby, the town is attempting to overturn my Dad’s nuisance claim that he filed, and won, by saying that “because of Mr. Funfar’s pre-existing condition of PTSD, he is not a normal person with normal sensitivities.” Furthermore, he has been referred to by the town, as “not an ordinary citizen.”
My Dad…not an ordinary citizen??! And trying to overturn his nuisance ruling because he has PTSD??! This is absurd, illogical & again flat out wrong.
What exactly is an “ordinary citizen?” My Dad, Barry A. Funfar, voluntarily signed up with the United States Marine Corp in 1966 to serve our country as a proud citizen of the United States of America. In 1968-69, he completed 2 tours, 19 months, in Vietnam, volunteering again, for the 2nd tour. My Dad was a helicopter door gunner. Door gunners do not have a long life span.. My Dad is my Dad because he somehow survived 127 missions as a Marine Door Gunner. A miracle, really, if you read the statistics.
PTSD…my Dad did not know he suffered from this until 2003 when he first learned that help was available through the VA. Although at the time he had never heard of PTSD, he knew something was not right. He was diagnosed with PTSD & 100% disabled because of it. Wow. He had done a great job until that time enduring & succeeding in his life while underneath he was suffering. Finally he had found some relief through the VA….individual and group counseling, at first 5 days a week, in Providence. It helped him so much & to this day he will tell anyone who wants to know, how thankful he is to the VA for giving him his life back, as he puts it. He continues to visit the VA in Providence weekly for his group counseling meeting.
Gardening… this was a huge part of his therapy. Working in his yard, creating his own oasis. He was even invited to have his yard as part of the West Falmouth Garden Tour, and people visited…not just during the tour, but at all different times, just because it was so different & so beautiful. Gardening & his yard was his passion. A special place indeed for my parents, as this has been there home since 1979 after my Dad built it from the ground up himself, intending to live there forever. His first grandchild, Brendan, born in 2003 spent his first years gardening with his Grandpa in the beautiful grounds my Dad had created that surrounded my parents’ home. Life was good.
In 2010, this all abruptly halted, with the start of Wind 1, which has been determined, in court, as not being constructed with the proper permits. It was immediate hell for my Dad to even be outside while the machine was operating. It severely triggered his PTSD…feeling the vibrations in his chest of the spinning blades was as if he was back in the helicopter in Vietnam. The anxiety & panic attacks, according to his doctors, were and are, potentially life threatening. To say the least, he could no longer work in his own yard, on his own property…& at times, even inside my Dad & Mom’s house, the turbines powerful effects reached them both. The amazing leaps & bounds of progress my Dad had made in regards to managing his PTSD, were rapidly reversing.
Today, it is upsetting to me to even be in their yard as it is now a jungle. It is no longer beautiful. I’m grateful that my older son Brendan now has a passion for gardening himself, but my younger & only other child, Kody, who was born in 2007, only remembers from photos, the short opportunity he had to experience this kind of time with Grandpa in Grandpa’s once safe haven. Brendan will never be 7 years younger. Kody will never be 7 years younger. This time can never be replaced. Not only has my Dad been stripped of this time with his grandchildren, of which you can not put a price tag on, but he has had to spend, so far, the past 7 years fighting for not just his & my Mom’s rights, but for all of those Falmouth citizens whose lives have been turned inside out because of turbines being wrongfully placed. Daily, my parents continue fighting for the right to be able to stay in their home, peacefully, without the severely intrusive and harmful distress of the gigantic machines in their backyard, just 1660 and 1550 feet away.
“Do what is right, not what is easy.” In all regards of his life, I know that from the bottom of his heart, this is what my Dad stands for. He has told me that giving up, as the town is so desperately trying to get him to do, goes against everything he believes in and would undoubtedly send the wrong message to everyone involved including his own grandchildren. My Dad served his country, has PTSD because of it and now the Town of Falmouth dares to use this against him. Barry Funfar is a successfully retired Falmouth business owner, a past & current town meeting member and more than anything, he is devoted to his family. My Mom, by his side since the day they met upon my Dad’s return from Vietnam, has dedicated most of her career to the Town of Falmouth as a math teacher & was also a Falmouth town meeting member. They worked hard and saved well, however as the amount of legal fees continues to grow, their savings, not to mention their precious and well deserved retirement years, are depleting far faster than they ever anticipated.
Again, it is beyond my comprehension to fathom how it is the town continues to not just witness people’s physical, mental & emotional well being crumble, but to ruthlessly support and encourage the cause of it, especially knowing the proper permits were not attained. I can’t help but ask myself over and over, particularly when trying to answer my children’s questions, “Why is this seemingly endless battle going on AT ALL?” THE TURBINES SHOULD NOT BE WHERE THEY ARE. PERIOD. How can human beings justify doing this to other human beings? How do those of you who fight this issue for the Town of Falmouth, explain this to your children? It is not just “wrong”. It is not just “unfortunate”. It is INHUMANE.
No resident of Falmouth should be suffering in any way, EVER, for any reason, because of a mistake made by the town…and on top if it, the Town of Falmouth is punishing the victims for it by demeaning their rights and degrading who they are as humans. Threatening to take their properties and homes by eminent domain has been yet another tactic in some of the Falmouth turbine cases in this town, including my parents’. Simply undignified. It is well beyond time to let people know what is really going on. My hope is that this letter will open some eyes & help with that. And perhaps the many many people who have asked me, “Why don’t your parents just move?” will have a better understanding of my response, “Because they’re doing what is right, not what is easy.”
Kristi D. Funfar