Freedom Rock needs to be a community project

If man has even one passion in his life, he must consider himself blessed.

Whether it’s a boyhood dream come true with hard work and determination, or just the luck of the draw, knowing such a passion makes his life worthwhile. Or hers.

And when that passion benefits the community, why, that’s as good as it gets.

You may or may not know John Enderlin. He’s a barber here in Dodge. Like most barbers, he has an opinion on about anything. Just ask him. But one opinion has put Fort Dodge on track to be home of a Freedom Rock.

Pictures in The Messenger a while back showed this huge boulder being set up on a little spit of land on the west side, at A Street and Avenue B, the west end of the Karl King Viaduct. This big rock will end up painted as a Freedom Rock by Ray “Bubba” Sorenson, of Greenfield, who already has painted six such rocks in Iowa and is hoping for one in each county.

When Bubba painted his first rock, it drew national attention, both for the patriotism it proved and for the beauty of chosen scenes. Enderlin was instrumental in getting the Webster County Freedom Rock in Fort Dodge. You might say he’s passionate about it.

“The closest one to Fort Dodge is in Rolfe,” Enderlin said. “It’s on private property up there, but where everybody can see it.”

He wanted the Freedom Rock here to be in a prominent spot, where people passing through on Highway 169 will see it and, he hopes, take the time to stop for a closer look. He’s even asking the state to put up informational signs on the highway telling people the rock is there.

Oh, he has so many ideas. A better flagpole. A small parking lot. A gazebo or other covering.

“Can you imagine what hail would do to the painting?” he asked.

The rock is painted with regular house paint, but locals will have to cover it with a clear coat to protect that paint. Clear coat costs $109 a gallon, and it will take four gallons.

You’re getting the idea here, I know you are.

We’ve got to step up and help fund this rock. This isn’t something one man should do alone.

So, decide what you can do and send a donation to the cause. It doesn’t have to be much. If 1,000 people gave just $10 each, that’s $10,000. (Well, it is if I figured it correctly.) And while it’s likely we’ll need lots more, at least that’s a start. And nothing says you can’t give more.

We’ve got time, but don’t put it off. Bubba plans to have the rock painted by 2016. It takes months to get the work done, and costs $5,000 plus expenses. A thousand dollars has been put on deposit.

Send donations to Freedom Rock Fund, Fort Dodge Community Foundation, 822 Central Ave., Fort Dodge, IA 50501. Or stop by JJ’s Barbershop at 8 N. 10th St. to see Enderlin.

Help honor our veterans.

So long friends, until the next time when we’re together.

Sandy Mickelson, former lifestyle editor of The Messenger, may be reached at