Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 18, 2018

Freedom Rock arrives at courthouse

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Jun 12, 2018
Photo by: ANDY HALLMAN/Ledger photo Lyle Maudlin, left, and Robert Estle examine the Freedom Rock that was dropped outside the Jefferson County Courthouse Monday afternoon. Ray “Bubba” Sorensen of Greenfield will paint a patriotic display on the rock honoring veterans and local people, as he has done for many other counties in Iowa.

Jefferson County’s Freedom Rock was delivered with a loud thud Monday afternoon.

Estle Construction of Fairfield dropped the nearly 17,000-pound boulder from the back of a mack truck onto a patch of gravel south of the Jefferson County Courthouse.

Artist Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II has agreed to paint the rock as he has for countless other counties across Iowa. Sorensen often paints a patriotic display featuring important people and buildings from that county’s history.

One of his most recent pieces was unveiled at the American Legion Hall in Stockport. The rock includes portraits of Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor-winner Voltaire Twombly, “State Fair” author Phil Stong, and the Van Buren County Courthouse, the oldest in the state.

Sorensen has made a name for himself as a gifted artist with a passion for honoring veterans through paintings on murals and boulders. He began the practice in 1999 when he painted a 60-ton rock near his hometown of Greenfield as a way to thank veterans for their service.

A few years ago, a group of Jefferson County residents formed a loose committee to hire Sorensen to paint a rock in this county. The committee has become known as Jefferson County Freedom Rock, with Lyle Maudlin as its chairman, Ernie Riepe as vice chairman, Tammy Jones as treasurer and Kim Winslow as secretary.

The committee has made a down payment to Sorensen to paint the rock, but it won’t necessarily be any time soon. He has many other rocks to paint first, and he does murals on top of that. He’s painting one in Brighton now, hoping to unveil it this weekend during Whoopee Days. Maudlin estimates the group needs to raise at least $10,000 to finish the project.

Robert Estle of Estle Construction knew the committee was looking for a large rock with flat faces, and he came across a nice granite one. Maudlin and Riepe took a look at his rock and said, “That’ll do just fine.”

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.