Plans are already being made to raise the 18-ton Dallas County Freedom Rock, which fell when it was struck by a motor vehicle that left the roadway on U.S. Highway 169 in Minburn shortly after 4 a.m. Saturday.
The motorist, a 21-year-old man from Perry, told ThePerryNews.com that he fell asleep at the wheel and struck the rock. His vehicle’s airbags deployed, and he came away with a sore pelvis and sprained ankle but is otherwise unhurt.
The Minburn American Legion Post 99 owns the Dallas County Freedom Rock. Post Commander Mark Golightly said Saturday he will review the terms of the rock’s insurance policy and discuss with his fellow Legionnaires the best way forward.
Golightly said the Legion wants to avoid erecting bollards or other security barriers around the Freedom Rock because they might detract from the monument’s beauty.
After the automobile wreckage was towed away, Dallas County Sheriff Chad Leonard of Dallas Center and Steve Luellen of Bouton, both members of the Minburn Legion Post 99, covered the overturned monument with a dignified tarp.
“It’s going to take some work,” Leonard said. “I would assume we will need a crane to pick it up so we can dig under again before we set it back in place.”
State Rep. Ray “Bubba” Sorensen of Greenfield, artist of the Dallas County Freedom Rock, said he would be available to repair and repaint to monument once it is re-erected.
“I’ll work with them,” said Sorensen. “You can’t predict accidents when things like this happen. If they scratch the paint setting it back up, then they scratch the paint setting it back up. We’ll just have to redo it. I didn’t get into this just to paint a bunch of them and then hit the road. It’s important to me to help keep these up and keep this mission going. We owe it to the veterans.”
Sorensen painted the Dallas County Freedom Rock in July, and it was dedicated Oct. 19 in a solemn ceremony. He said that of the 87 Freedom Rocks he has completed, only two have been damaged when they were wholly submerged by flood waters and only one has been vandalized: the Cedar Falls rock was spray painted by a vandal shortly before Memorial Day 2016.
Sorensen said he aims to establish a Freedom Rock Foundation that can accept corporate donations so that “as things like this happen over time, I want to be able to provide low- to no-cost repairs. That’s my goal as I wrap up the whole tour because there’s going to be maintenance things and things that happen with the landscaping, maybe a tree branch falls or another one gets submerged. I want to be able to help them quickly and at little to no cost so that these things aren’t a burden but just a continued joy for people.”