The check for the $500.00 down payment was sent to Bubba Sorenson so that part of the plan is in motion. We received confirmation that we are on the schedule, and will be notified once we get closer to the actual painting so we can pressure wash the rock, and get the tent and heat set up for the actual painting, likely to be early in December, or earlier if he gets ahead of schedule.
Ken Wiley, and Joe Henkels (Assembly 3378) and Bob Ukena (Assembly 3031) met at the VA Hospital with Kayla Sherwood, Becky Thompson, Harold Ness and Lou Pambianco (sp?) to discuss the project. Joe Henkels committed that we would move the rock the following week, and that he would arrange for the transportation, and equipment required. We measured and painted the permanent location on the ground at the site, and discussed logistics, traffic control, etc. We confirmed our commitment to build the structures for the Therapy Terrain Garden.
We had communicated with Jeff Chicoine, PE, Director of Plant Operations at Cerne Calcium Company in Fort Dodge, and he volunteered to bring a crane and Lull forklift to the site to load the rock. Joe Henkels, Project Manager at Baker Electric, made the arrangements for transportation of the rock from Fort Dodge to Des Moines, and to unload it at the VA Hospital using a large crane from Barnhart Crane. The crew of three from Cerne Calcium met Joe and I at John Josephson’s property at 1:00 PM on the 27th, and we successfully loaded the rock into the Baker Electric truck that Michael Garcia had driven to Fort Dodge. After transporting the rock to Des Moines, the operator of the Barnhart Crane, with Michael’s help, successfully set the rock in a temporary location while the footing is prepared. Once the footing is completed, the rock will be positioned and set in its permanent location. Since the rock, all of the equipment costs, and labor were donated, there was no cost to the VA Hospital. We all felt it was an honor to do this for our Veterans who have served us and sacrificed so valiantly so that we can enjoy the benefits of this great country.
I had discovered a suitable rock in an empty lot in Fort Dodge, IA, and discovered the rocks owner. I met with John Josephson, the owner who was wearing a U. S. Marine Corp cap, and explained what we would do with it, and he generously donated the rock for our purpose. Although not a Veteran, John’s son in law is a US Marine currently stationed in the Pacific doing Recon work, and John promised he would wear his son in law’s USMC hat every day until his safe return.
Bob Ukena, a Veteran and longtime volunteer at the Hospital and I had initially discussed the Terrain Therapy Garden at the VA Hospital with Kayla Sherwood. We thought it was time to see what support we could muster from the group, so I set up a meeting at the Twisted Vine on November 17th 2016 to discuss and introduce the Terrain Therapy Garden to the larger group, including our Assembly 3378. We also invited Bob’s Assembly 3031. It seemed like a great project, since the 4th Degree is the Patriotic Degree, so anything to help the Veterans would be a great project. It was at that meeting that we came up with the idea to include a large rock, and have Ray “Bubba” Sorenson paint it. Bubba paints the “Freedom Rocks®” one in each county in Iowa (so far 69 counties in Iowa have a “Freedom Rock®”). Since there is already a “Freedom Rock®” in Polk County, we would need to come up with an appropriate name for this one. We also committed to build the structures (bridge and raised planters) for the Garden.