BOONE, Iowa –The Boone County Freedom Rock was dedicated on Veterans Day 2020. But the ceremony had to wait four years, while the county paused to honor some other veterans.
“It started back in 2014 when Misty Stumbo, who lost her son in Iraq in 2006, was able to come up with the money for a down payment on having Bubba Sorenson come to Boone and paint a freedom rock,” said Fred Greiner, Chair of Boone County Freedom Rock group. “So I took another year and a half or so to get organized and we put together a small committee and was able to find a rock nearby in a quarry that Mike and Jane Madden donated the rock.”
Sorensen completed the rock in 2016, but the landscaping of the project had to wait.
“It took a few years to raise the money we had originally wanted to do the landscape in 2016, but there was money being raised for Freedom Flights out of Boone County to take Veterans to Washington DC, so we didn’t really want to try to raise money at the same time so we waited,” said Greiner. “After they decided not to that’s when we started raising money.”
The original project was slated to cost $50,000, but Greiner said they were able to save funds, as they did some of the work using volunteer labor.
Like all Freedom Rocks, this one tells the story of local history. It features the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad. Also the stories of local soldiers who paid the ultimate price.
“Sergeant Major Marilyn Gabbard she was the highest-ranking woman in the Iowa National Guard and she was killed in Iraq in a helicopter accident in 2007,” said Greiner. “And then on the opposite side is a picture of Sergeant Daniel Sesker who was killed in Iraq in 2006, again the son of Misty Stumbo.”
The Boone County Freedom Rock also features a painting of President Dwight Eisenhower, and his wife Mamie, who is a native of Boone.
Greiner said the group has sold engraved pavers to honor local veterans. The money raised will go to fund replacement flags of the military branches around the rock.
For more about the Boone County Freedom Rock click here.