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Shelby County to receive its own “Freedom Rock,” near Earling


April 2nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with Shelby County say the county will be receiving a brand new tourist attraction this summer. During a regular Shelby County Board of Supervisors meeting this (Tuesday) morning, Jack Kenkel with the Shelby County American Legion reported the county has been accepted to receive a “Freedom Rock”.

One rendition of the “Freedom Rock” north of Greenfield. Artist Ray “Bubba” Sorensen repaints the rock each year with a different, patriotic theme.

Artist Ray “Bubba” Sorensen created the original rock just south of Interstate 80 off of Highway 25, in Adair County. It’s repainted annually, as a thank you to all who have served the armed forces. Kenkel said the Sorensen family will travel and create a “Freedom Rock” in all 99 Iowa Counties over the next few summers and doing 10 rocks a year. Shelby County is the farthest western Iowa County to be selected in the process so far.

Kenkel says the location of the rock will be in Earling, in what is now called Veterans Park, on the south side of the Highway 37. He says the site will need some preparation work before the rock can be put in place. Meanwhile, the Shelby County American Legion is looking for ideas on what to be painted on the rock.  Kenkel says they will incorporate the pioneering of Shelby County into the theme.

The County and American Legion have a little more than two months to plan and get the rock set, as “Bubba” is scheduled to be in Shelby County to paint the rock in the last two weeks of June. Kenkel said the maintenance of the rock will be minimal with the city of Earling mowing the area and the rock will need resealed every 5 years. The estimated cost for the project is around $25-30,000. Kenkel says the rock will be a key component of tourism for the county.

The Shelby County American Legion will be giving a presentation at the Shelby County Hotel/Motel Tax Committee on Wednesday to discuss funding. However, if you would like more information on the Freedom Rock project or to donate to the project, contact the Shelby County American Legion or Jack Kenkel.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)