Hawarden Legion snares Freedom Rock site

Posted July 11, 2013 at 5:00 am


by Steve Peterson

When Hawarden American Legion Post No. 2556 members host their annual corn feed on July 18 they should be able to show off a new addition to the Veterans Memorial Park.

Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II began work July 8 on the Sioux County Freedom rock, just the eighth in the State of Iowa in his bid to have all 99 counties to have a Freedom Rock.

“Last winter we took a van load of us Legion members to the original Freedom Rock,” said Commander Harlan Van Egdom, of the site in Menlo, IA.

The American Legion Freedom Rock Committee is Al Van Noort, Roger Johnson, Ron De Boer, Van Egdom. Van Noort said the committee is excited to have The Freedom Rock project here. The latest Freedom Rock was done in George for Lyon County. The project will take about a week to complete.

The rocks are the creation of Sorensen which is his way of “thanking our Veterans while providing a unique to their area Freedom Rock for all 99 counties in the great state of Iowa,” according to the Freedom Rock web site.

American Legion members arranged a donation of a 10-ton rock from an L. G. Everist Inc. quarry site in Jasper, Minn. The Hawarden American Legion has committed $5,000 to the cost of The Freedom Rock project and will have fund raisers starting with the corn feed. The American Legion Sweet Corn Feed will be from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., July 18 at Veterans Memorial Park.

For one Hawarden family the rock will have special meaning.

“The eldest Aldrich, Eugene, passed away in California at age 94. We asked the family if they would not mind if we could have some of the ashes placed at the stone. The family said ‘it was an honor’,” said Van Egdom.

Some of Eugene’s Ashes were placed at the rock site on July 6. Eugene was the oldest of the men who served.

A formal dedication of The Sioux County Freedom Rock is expected to take place during the Big Sioux River Days celebration over Labor Day weekend.

Sorensen paints The Freedom Rock on his own with the support of family and friends. The initial site was inspired by the movie “
Saving Private Ryan” and was installed in 1999. Sorensen goes to the site and paints it each Memorial Day. Some other counties in addition to Lyon as well as Sioux’s Hawarden site which have signed on include Waukee in Dallas County; St. Ansgar; Rolfe of Pocahontas County; Diagonal in Ringgold County; Bondurant in Polk County; and Earling in Shelby County.

“He was supposed to come in September but a county backed out so they asked if someone would step up,” said Van Noort.

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