A trailer in a Calverton farm field adorned with an oversize thank you to God has inspired more scribblings, including one in Russian. Now appearing in various hues of marker are:
“Love You, Jesus!”
“God Bless America.”
“God Bless This Sign.”
The messages were written Tuesday by residents and members of the Home Church in Mastic, who said they organized a rally to support Marie Tooker, a Flanders resident who has been issued violations for the trailer — emblazoned with the words “I Love You God Thank You” in capital letters — by Riverhead code enforcement officials.
“Hundreds of thousands of people are grateful in whatever religion that they are,” said Kelle Ryan, 32, of Wading River and a member of Home Church. “The fact that the town thinks it’s an ‘eyesore’ is deplorable. We’re here to support her free speech. It’s her property and it should stay up.”
Several people stood on the side of Middle Country Road holding signs reading “Save the Trailer” and “Stop + Sign the Trailer” as passing cars honked in support.
Andrew Miller, 30, and his wife, Krystel, 31, pastor and assistant pastor, respectively, of Home Church, said the message supporting God was important for them to support.
“As a Christian, when I see a fellow Christian go through that, I think it’s our responsibility to stand up, not in a disrespectful way, but to say ‘Hey, we have a right to put that up,’ ” said Andrew Miller, of Mastic.
In July, town code enforcement officials issued violations to Tooker, 52, saying the trailer violates regulations governing the storage of junked and/or unregistered motor vehicles. At an Aug. 1 town board meeting, several town board members told her they felt the sign was “inappropriate.”
Tooker, who was at Tuesday’s rally, said she was moved by the outpouring of support and said she had not received further violations to date. She added that she has no plans to register the trailer.
“Who could be offended by this?” asked Dmitri Gorbounov, 47, of Southampton, who wrote a Russian Orthodox prayer on the trailer in Russian reading, “Save Me and Keep Me.”
Not Town Supervisor Sean Walter, who said on Tuesday that the town has no problem with the message on the trailer and that the issue is town code prohibiting the placement of unregistered vehicles visibly out in the open on a property.
“Anyone who wants to rally on behalf of God and in favor of God, I fully support,” Walter said. “If she registers the vehicle, I think the issue probably goes away.”