Allamakee County Freedom Rock now protected by steel shelter constructed and generously donated by Waukon native


Covered in generosity ... The Allamakee County Freedom Rock located in the Waukon City Park received a protective covering Wednesday, December 16 courtesy of Waukon native Greg Dougherty of Gillette, WY. Dougherty’s company, Greg’s Welding, Inc. with locations in Wyoming and North Dakota, constructed the steel frame for the shelter in Wyoming before transporting the pieces of the structure to Waukon, along with a crew that assembled the finished product pictured above with help from local contractor Kelly Concrete, with all labor and materials generously donated to provide shelter for the Freedom Rock before winter sets in. Standard photo by Joe Moses.

Waukon native gives generously ... Waukon native and 1977 Waukon High School Greg Dougherty is pictured above standing next to the Allamakee County Freedom Rock in the Waukon City Park. Dougherty, owner of Greg’s Welding, Inc. in Gillette, WY, donated the design, construction and installation of a steel protective shelter that was installed over the Allamakee County Freedom Rock Wednesday, December 16. Standard photo by Joe Moses.

Committee thrilled with completion ... Waukon native Greg Dougherty (center) of Gillette, WY stands under the new Freedom Rock shelter with Allamakee County Freedom Rock Committee members, Waukon Park and Recreation Wellness Director Jeremy Strub (left) and Ardie Kuhse (right), who began the process to bring a Freedom Rock to Allamakee County back in 2016. Dougherty learned of the Allamakee County Freedom Rock this past summer while home visiting his mother and other family members, and continued to follow its progress before offering to donate the construction and installation of the steel shelter now protecting the monument. Standard photo by Joe Moses. Additional photos can be found in a Photo Gallery on this website.

Additional generosity aids in completion ... Local contractor Kelly Concrete added its own bit of generosity to the completion of the new shelter over top the Allamakee County Freedom Rock located in Waukon City Park. Owner Chad Kelly and his crew dug and poured the concrete footings to which the shelter’s four corner posts are anchored, and also provided the services of the company’s crane truck (pictured above) to lift the steel roof structure and hold it in place while it was secured to the metal posts supporting the structure in each of the shelter’s four corners. Standard photo by Joe Moses. Additional photos can be found in a Photo Gallery on this website.

Shelter kicks off Phase II of monument project

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Freedom Rock project took another step forward Wednesday, December 16 with the installation of a steel shelter over the monument honoring veterans in the Waukon City Park (see photo above).

Greg Dougherty, a Waukon native now residing in Gillette, WY, donated the steel shelter in addition to the services of his company, Greg’s Welding, Inc. with locations in Wyoming and North Dakota. Dougherty and a crew comprised of foremen from his company made the more than 12-hour journey from Gillette to Waukon in transporting the steel shelter and then installed it at the site of the Allamakee County Freedom Rock.

Dougherty, a 1977 graduate of Waukon High School and the son of Rita and the late John Dougherty of Waukon, shared with The Standard that he learned of the Freedom Rock this past summer while in Waukon visiting family including his brother, Scott Dougherty, who farms near Waukon, and his mother, who is a resident at Northgate Care Center in Waukon. At that point, the rock had just been placed in the City Park with artist, Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II, scheduled to soon begin painting the mural honoring military veterans in mid/late August 2020.

Dougherty continued to follow the project and the unveiling of the completed mural that took place September 11, and he was aware of the next phase of the project involving fundraising and the design of a shelter. This prompted Dougherty to contact Ardie Kuhse, who has been involved in the planning and application process since 2016 for Allamakee County to be included in artist “Bubba” Sorenson’s Freedom Rock Tour.

Dougherty expressed his initial interest in donating to the project and potentially contributing a shelter, with his company being involved in the fabrication of similar structures. Dougherty said that Greg’s Welding, Inc. performs a variety of maintenance work and metal fabrication and is a manufacturer of steel buildings and structures used in the oil and gas industry in addition to projects for colleges, businesses and various industry.

With Kuhse and other committee members involved in the project on board regarding Dougherty’s offer, Dougherty and his team moved forward in designing and fabricating the shelter to be donated for the project. Dougherty shared that it was a fun project to work on and that he appreciates the sacrifices that veterans have made in protecting this nation. Dougherty added that the donation of the shelter is his way of honoring his grandfather, Corporal Emmett G. Dougherty (1895-1986), who was wounded in France during World War I.

Local contractor Kelly Concrete was also involved in completion of the protective shelter project, and was also generous in donating labor and materials. Owner Chad Kelly and his crew dug and poured the cement footings for each of the new shelter’s four metal posts to be anchored to, and then offered the services of the company’s crane truck to help lift the steel roof structure and hold it in place while it was attached to the metal posts in each of the shelter’s four corners (as evident in the photo below at right).

PHASE II UNDERWAY
Kuhse further shared with The Standard that the shelter is the first priority of the second phase of the Allamakee County Freedom Rock project, with Sorensen, the artist, highly recommending that a shelter be added due to the amount of flat area on the boulder used for this particular mural. Kuhse said that Dougherty’s donation of the shelter and the complementing donation by Kelly Concrete to help bring the project to completion has accomplished that first priority, with the next part of this phase to include the design and placement of a cement pathway around the Freedom Rock.

Kuhse added that landscaping will be another part of the second phase of the project in addition to lighting, security cameras and the placement of flags including the U.S. Flag, Iowa Flag, and Prisoner of War/Missing In Action (POW/MIA) Flag. Kuhse said that each branch of the military will be recognized within the landscaping and that signage will also tell about the process that brought about this Freedom Rock, as well as recognize the donors that made this project possible.

ABOUT THE FREEDOM ROCK TOUR
Iowa’s 99-County Freedom Rock Tour is the creation of artist Ray “Bubba” Sorensen with Allamakee County’s Freedom Rock being the 92nd rock and mural to be included in this statewide tourism attraction. The original Freedom Rock is located north of Greenfield, where Sorensen resides, and is approximately 12 feet tall and is a 60-plus ton boulder he painted in 1999 after being inspired by the film “Saving Private Ryan”. By 2013, Sorensen expanded upon the annual repainting of that original rock and introduced the Freedom Rock Tour as an opportunity for each of Iowa’s 99 counties to have their own Freedom Rock as a tourism attraction that honors military veterans.

During the painting of the Allamakee County Freedom Rock in August, Sorensen shared that not every military branch will be represented on each individual Freedom Rock that is part of Iowa’s 99-County Freedom Rock Tour, with the Allamakee County Freedom Rock focusing on the military veteran stories relevant to this county and collectively telling a larger story in combination with the Freedom Rocks across the entire state. Sorensen also discussed the significance of adding the U.S. flag to each of the Freedom Rocks, with every fiber of the U.S. flag representing every veteran and every American.

For more information about the Allamakee County Freedom Rock and the continuation of the improvement project surrounding the monument, or anyone wishing to make a donation to the project is invited to contact Ardie Kuhse at the Waukon Economic Development Office at 563-568-2624 or by email at wedc4u@gmail.com.
 

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