The Dedication Ceremony was held at the VA, By the rock. Angie Hauser, Cathy Moellenbeck & Charlene Kiesling started the ceremony with the National Anthem while the 4th Degree Knights Honor Guard and uniformed members of our military stood by at attention. Brenda Safransk from Senator Ernst’s Office spoke of how they interact on behalf of our military and veterans. Kristi Miller (from OPN Architects who developed the design with Denise Hurt) provided an overview of the Therapy Terrain Garden, for which this rock provides the catalyst, and cornerstone. Bubba Sorensen, the artist who paints the Freedom Rocks around Iowa, and beyond, described how the ideas developed and the significance of the Painting he did on this rock, and how it relates to the Veterans, and those who care for them. Gail Graham, Facility Director, provided her comments regarding this project, and the significance for the Veterans. Bob Ukena, a Veteran & longtime volunteer at the VA Hospital, a significant driver for this project, provided an emotional talk about our vision for this project, and without Bob’s dedication to it, we would not be here today. Angie Hauser, Cathy Moellenbeck, Charlene Kiesling sang a final song as the Knights of Columbus and soldiers in their dress uniforms marched away. Kayla Sherwood, the VA Recreational Therapist whose idea it was to create the Terrain Therapy Garden spoke of the benefit it will provide to the patients at the facility to close the ceremony.
Bubba completed the rock, and it looks great! Planning begins for a Dedication Ceremony to be held on Sunday, December 17th at 2:00 PM.
OPN Architects Kristy Miller, and Denise Hurt held a meeting at the VA with the VA Management and staff and the Knights of Columbus to formally present two outstanding designs for the Therapy Terrain Garden. The designs were well received! The input from Kayla Sherwood and the VA Staff was greatly appreciated, especially from the Therapists that will be utilizing the space for helping the Veterans with their rehabilitation.
Ray “Bubba” Sorensen began sketching his designs on the rock, and applied the primer under the flag on top the rock. Everyone at the VA is excited to see Bubba’s work progress. A Veteran had requested that his ashes be added to the paint, which Bubba did as a memorial to grant his last wish.
A crew from 4th Degree Assemblies 3031 and 3378 set up the tent and heat (donated by Assembly 3031). Bob Ukena, Joe Gudorf, Tim Marean and his son Zach (Assembly 3031), and Ken Wiley and nephew Steve, Joe Henkels and Marty Herrmann (Assembly 3378) set it up to prepare for the painting, so we are now almost ready for the transformation. This event was witnessed by several of the Vets, including Tom Dunbar and Daniel Seed (Pictured), who showed their appreciation for the project, and are excited to see the painting begin.