If you take the time, you will find that you can meet the most interesting people. Recently I made a stop at the Freedom Rock north of Greenfield, Iowa to see the most recent version. The Freedom Rock was started in 1999 to honor the men and women that have served our country. Each year, Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II, paints a new mural on the rock prior to Memorial Day.
As I pulled up this year I found John Porter raising the Stars and Bars over the memorial. Porter, a three-year veteran of the air force with a stop in Vietnam, was quick to fill me in on the history of the rock and tell his story about working with Sorensen over the years. Porter described himself as the sergeant at arms for the memorial and it is a job that he takes very serious.
"I was cuffed and stuffed several years ago," Porter said with a smile.
He said the one and only time someone messed with the memorial ended in Porter punching him in the face. Porter said he found out someone painted graffiti and anti-flag rhetoric on one of the early versions of the rock. When he found out the identity of the man that did it he wanted to have a friendly conversation with him. One thing led to another and Porter found himself in jail.
"It's okay. The local veterans groups paid for my bail and court costs," he said still smiling.
Over the years nearly 80 veterans have reportedly had their ashes mixed in the paint and added to the memorial. Making Porter's job of keeping an eye on the memorial all that more important. I left him as he talked with his wife and others that were visiting the Freedom Rock. A great guy that has dedicated his life to his country.
To read more about the Freedom Rock follow this link: https://www.thefreedomrock.com