Sometimes the Freedom Rocks are hard to find, as they might be hidden in an unusual location. Other times, as was the case with the Webster County Freedom Rock, it was right out in the open and exactly where my GPS told me it was. If you’ve been following along on my #FreedomRocks2016 journey, you already know that the Freedom Rocks are all painted by artist Ray ‘Bubba’ Sorensen as a tribute to Iowa’s veterans. Sorensen’s goal is to have one Freedom Rock painted in each of Iowa’s 99 counties. As of today, there are 48 completed, with more on the schedule this year.
According to the the Freedom Rock website, Sorensen’s schedule is booked through 2020. Only a few counties have yet to apply for their own Rock. I wonder what the heck they are waiting for?
The Webster County Freedom Rock was just completed in April 2016, which makes it one of the newest ones. (There’s also a new one in Boone county that was just completed last month– I’ll be writing about that one soon!)
This side features two local WWII pilots, Darrell Lindsey and Willis Moeller. Lindsey was born in Jefferson and graduated from Fort Dodge High School, and attending college at Buena Vista and Drake Universities. Lindsey received the Medal Of Honor and Moeller received the Distinguished Flying Cross, both for their extreme efforts and display of courage and bravery while fighting for our country.
Look at the detail that goes into painting these Rocks. Isn’t it just fascinating? I’m constantly in awe every time I see one of these– to think that an artist can paint such detail on a very rough surface is phenomenal.
This side of the Rock shows the dark side of what our soldiers, our heroes, many times experience when they come home. Depression, PTSD, suicidal thoughts. The man sitting with his head in his hands is surrounded by a nurse on the right, and a depiction of the demons that might be haunting him on the left. At the bottom of the rock is a soldier, still clutching the medals he has earned for his service, and represents the sad plight of the homeless veterans in our country. Sadly, this is what happens many times when our veterans cannot find the help they need.
Kudos to Artist Ray Sorensen for portraying the not-so-pretty side of our veterans’ homecomings. I hope that his paintings help to raise awareness for what is going on, and point out that there are ways we can help.
The Webster County Freedom Rock is located at 129 A Street in Fort Dodge. You can read about the original Freedom Rock in Adair County or the other Freedom Rocks I have visited, or you can follow #FreedomRocks2016 on Instagram or Twitter.