DIAGONAL — In an effort to place a Freedom Rock in each of Iowa’s 99 counties, Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II is well on his way.
Ringgold is the most recent county to receive a Freedom Rock mural, located on the corner of Broadway and West Third streets in Diagonal.
Diagonal resident Danielle Newton-Grace said Ringgold’s Freedom Rock was designed by Sorensen after input was given from the community.
While each Freedom Rock designed by Sorensen is similar in theme, each rock is unique, representing the history of the county it sits in. Ringgold’s Freedom Rock depicts the arrival of a train carrying a casket draped with an American Flag.
“A lot of the elders remember fallen soldiers being loaded off the train,” Newton-Grace said of the design.
The back of the rock shows a young girl holding the hand of a shadow-like figure of a soldier and the names of fallen soldiers from the state of Iowa, of which seven are from Ringgold County.
“We’ve had great community support,” said Newton-Grace, who originally learned about Sorensen’s Freedom Rock tour from her grandfather.
To fund the project, Newton-Grace and Diagonal resident Gina Knox organized fundraisers, such as cookouts, and solicited private donations from the community.
“We’ve raised $6,800 and still have $1,200 to go,” said Newton-Grace. “And we will continue raising funds until we reach our goal.”
Sorensen has painted a total of five Freedom Rocks in Mitchell, Pocahontas and Dallas counties, this latest in Ringgold and the original in Adair County.
The Freedom Rocks in Pocahontas and Ringgold counties are the first two painted since the start of the Freedom Rock Tour, which began in April.
Only one town from each county is chosen through an application process.
“We thought it was a great idea and applied,” said Newton-Grace. “We heard back the next day we were the town to get it.”
Newton-Grace said she enjoyed working with Sorensen and meeting his wife Maria, who were both “very easy to work with.”
Sorensen said the tour will “take a few years to complete” and has already booked Freedom Rocks in the counties of Lyon, Sioux, Dickinson, Hancock, SAC, Calhoun, Carroll, Shelby, Audobon, Guthrie, Polk, Marion, Adams, Wapello, Page, Taylor and Appanoose.
Sorensen plans to be at the Freedom Rock in Adair County on Memorial Day weekend, including Memorial Day to meet with visitors.
To help fund the Freedom Rock tour, Sorensen will have Freedom Rock merchandise available for sale. The Freedom Rock tour is sponsored by Valspar Paint, Casey’s General Store and Champion Ford in Carroll.
To learn more about Sorensen, the Freedom Rock tour or to apply for a Freedome Rock, visit www.thefreedomrock.com.