GRIMES, Iowa — Rick Hutcheson grew up in Grimes and in 1970 joined the US Army, serving in the 101st Airborne in Vietnam.
“We didn’t dig foxholes we didn’t do a lot, “ said Hutcheson, “We just kind of quietly went through the jungle and look for signs of the enemy.”
While serving he was injured and lost a leg. He was awarded a Purple Heart for his service. Back in 2015 Hutcheson heard about the veterans’ memorial planned in Knoxville and he wanted to do his own memorial on his own land.
“We wanted to have some type of memorial for the veterans in our community and the city didn’t seem to be too excited about doing it,” said Hutcheson.
He tried to get a Freedom Rock, but that didn’t work out, so he brought in his own rock, and hired artists to paint what he calls a “memorial rock.” The artwork depicts a helicopter landing in Vietnam, and troops marching through the jungle. That’s something Rick did, hike for miles, carrying 125 pounds of gear in his backpack.
The memorial also has a tribute to first responders. It is open 24/7 with lighting and benches for people who wish to pause and reflect. The property also has a row of Cedar trees which have been on the property for decades. One of the trees had the top half broken off. It now is part of the Veterans’ Memorial.
“We lost the top half of the tree but it’s still a tree,” said Hutcheson. “It’s like some of our veterans, like myself, I was wounded in Vietnam, lost a leg some of us aren’t all here yet, but we still stand proud and tall.”
Rick said though he was wounded in Vietnam he was glad to serve his country.
“I was glad to serve my country. That was, to me, the right thing to do,” said Hutcheson.
If you would like to know more about the Grimes Memorial, click here.