Veterans Archives - ResourcesUnite!


Friends of Dubuque County Conservation Board Inc.

The mission of the DCCB is to enhance the quality of life of our citizens by providing quality outdoor recreation facilities, environmental education, and by promoting the long-term protection of Dubuque County’s natural resources and heritage.

Allie Schmalz
Phone Number
Website Address
13606 Swiss Valley Rd
Facebook Page
Volunteer Need 1
Weekend Volunteer: Swiss Valley regular staff work throughout the week or programs during the weekends and we sometimes need help to keep the Nature Center open on the weekends. Hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Whole day shifts or half day shifts are available. Volunteers are trained in greeting visitors, answering phones, and the general procedures in opening and closing the Nature Center.
Volunteer Need 2
Special Service Groups Volunteer: Swiss Valley Nature Center works with area groups on larger land and facility management projects. Such groups include: Boy/Girl scouts, local churches, friends groups, schools, and more! Tasks could include tree planting, construction of wood duck or blue bird houses, or invasive species management.
Volunteer Need 3
Land Management:  Habitat Restoration: Staff will provide safety equipment and an opportunity to maintain Dubuque County Conservation areas as well as teach volunteers techniques that can be implemented on their own property. Techniques will include invasive species removal, tree planting, trail maintenance and more!  Trail Ambassador: Volunteers act as a liaison for Dubuque County Conservation to the public and provide trail maintenance. Possible duties include: trash collection, pruning woody vegetation, informing staff of items needing attention such as downed limbs, washouts, graffiti, social interactions with trail users, and more!  Maple Syruping: Work with staff to tap maple trees or monitor the evaporator and watch the sap turn into syrup!
Volunteer Need 4
Volunteer Naturalists: Over 20,000 students receive environmental education each year at Dubuque County Conservation areas. These visits provide students with a unique field experience taught by both staff and trained volunteers. A desire to learn more about nature and a willingness to share your enthusiasm and knowledge with students is all that is needed to be a volunteer naturalist. Prior experience is not necessary since training is provided.

Freedom Rock

The Freedom Rock is an approximately 60 ton boulder located in SW Iowa. It is painted each year with a different Thank You to our Veterans to honor their service to our country.

The artist Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II was inspired by the movie Saving Private Ryan and also by Senator Chuck Grassley’s visits every year to every county in the state. Dubuque County has been accepted to have a rock painted. The Dubuque County Freedom Rock will be proudly located in Epworth, IA, in front of the new city hall.

To help make this dream come true, you can donate by sending donations to Resources Unite. All donations are tax deductible. We also will be selling pavers that will be put in the front of the plaza at a cost of $50.00 per paver. You will be able to have up to 3 lines engraved on the paver with 10 characters per line. What better way to honor your veteran hero?

You can purchase a paver by filling out the following form:

Freedom Rock Form


Please choose the paver you would like to purchase:


Please tell us the verbiage you would like engraved on your paver:


To learn more about the Freedom Rock Tour visit

Epworth Chosen for a Freedom Rock

In the 1960’s a large limestone rock dug from a quarry was placed in Adair County a mile south of Interstate 80 exit #86 near Hwy 25 as an ad for the quarry. In subsequent years, the ad was often painted over and covered in graffiti.

In 1999, Ray Sorensen II asked quarry owners if he could honor veterans with a painting on the rock for Memorial Day. Thus began the history of what is now called internationally “The Freedom Rock.” Each year for the last fourteen years, Ray has painted a new tribute on the rock. The one part of the mural that is never changed is the helicopter as it has the ashes of veterans mixed into the paint. For a visual of these paintings go to
Because of the response he received from veterans, Ray proposed every county in Iowa should have a Freedom Rock honoring veterans and enhancing Iowa tourism as people would want to see all ninety-nine of the rocks. Ray has offered his mural painting skills to paint the rocks.
Cindy and Terry McDermott learned of this project and applied for a Freedom Rock to be placed in Dubuque County. They requested the Epworth City Council’s permission to place the rock in front of City Hall to the east of the flagpole, a site easily visible from Highway 20.
Receiving the city’s permission, Cindy began organizing the project further. She quickly received a donation of a large granite rock, a crane to lift it, and a semi to haul it. Before proceeding, however, a large concrete base has to be constructed. This will hold the rock and two additional flag poles for an Iowa state flag and MIA flag.
Estimated cost of the project is around $13,000. Victory Ford has held a fundraiser, which netted $3000. Other income will be raised by selling 750 memorial pavers honoring veterans, firefighters, policemen, and EMTs from Dubuque county. These will be embedded in the base.
Ray Sorensen has been contacted to paint the mural on the rock. He currently has around twenty-five rocks completed, and he is scheduled up to 2019. However, if Dubuque county has the funds and rock set to go, it may be moved up on his schedule. Though Ray researches each county for an appropriate patriotic theme for each rock, a committee will be formed to help decide on the final mural.
Proud to be an American and from Epworth? Call Cindy McDermott at 581-5446 to help with this project, which honors our veterans, as well as promotes Epworth as a tourist site.

*Donations to Resources Unite, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, are tax-deductible (Tax ID: 36-4761269) to the extent allowed by law.

Cindy McDermott
Phone Number