Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 18, 2018

Residents hope to bring ‘Freedom Rock’ to Fairfield

By Nicole Major, Ledger staff writer | Jul 28, 2017
Source: submitted Ray “Bubba” Sorenson II is seen painting a Freedom Rock. A group of Jefferson County residents is raising money to commission Sorenson to paint a similar rock in the county.

A group of local citizens are continuing the effort to provide Jefferson County with its own Freedom Rock.

Started in 1999 by Ray “Bubba” Sorenson II, the Freedom Rock was originally a more than 60-ton boulder in rural Iowa that Sorenson would repaint annually in appreciation to veterans.

According to Sorenson’s website, he had the idea of spreading the message of the Freedom Rock to other small communities across Iowa. The idea in part came from the 99 county tours that both Sen. Chuck Grassley and journalist Kyle Munson took part in, and so the Freedom Rock Tour was born.

Sorenson and his family have traveled the state of Iowa to put smaller Freedom Rocks in each county.

Jefferson County residents Lyle Maudlin and Ernie Riepe had the idea to bring a Freedom Rock to Jefferson County.

“We’re in the process of setting up nonprofit status,” said Tammy Jones, who heads up “Freedom Rock of Jefferson County.”

The committee has raised more than $2,300 toward the purchase of the rock, which could cost around $8,000-9,000. That covers painting and moving the bolder. Other costs would be a cement padding and lighting to accentuate the Freedom Rock.

“We’ve gotten money from the [Fairfield] Rotary Club, a significant personal donation, and several smaller donations have also come in as people hear about it,” Jones said, adding that the former Veterans of Foreign Wars Men’s Auxiliary donated as well.

“It’s no longer the ‘men’s’ auxiliary,” Riepe said, explaining that now the VFW women and men form a single auxiliary. “The former men’s auxiliary donated at least $1,000 toward it,” he said.

“We’ve located a rock, but haven’t gotten it excavated yet,” Maudlin said.

Jones said the rock had been “secured and donated.”

The prospective rock is currently embedded in the ground just west of Fairfield. After the rock is excavated, it would still be some time before the work is completed by Sorenson.

“We’re on the list to get it done,” Jones said. “It would be within five years.”

Maudlin said the committee would be planning a meeting within the next two weeks to discuss removing the rock from its current location.

For more information, or to donate, contact Maudlin at 919-3557.

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