Making a connection

Plans unveiled to link Freedom Rock to fighter jet

T-R PHOTO BY JEFF HUTTON American Legion Post 46 Vice Commander Kevin Huseboe stands next to the Freedom Rock, located on the American Legion grounds. Huseboe and members of the American Legion Riders Post 46 group want to construct a memorial pathway from the Freedom Rock to the back entrance of the F4 Phantom fighter jet, in the background, that sits parallel to South 6th Street.

Telling the stories of the men and women who fought for our freedom has never been more important; linking the past to the present is paramount in sharing those stories.

But connecting the public and veterans to the F4 Phantom fighter jet on the grounds of the American Legion Post 46 Golf Course, has proved a challenge, with no real accessible pathway to the jet.

But that’s about the change, with the proposed creation of a sidewalk stretching from the Marshall County Freedom Rock to the fighter jet, which sits parallel to South 6th Street.

“We’ve had numerous people tell us they want to see the jet up close,” said American Legion Post 46 Vice Commander Kevin Huseboe. “So we’ve come up with this idea of building a path from the Freedom Rock, going down to the back end of the jet.

With the numerous improvements that have been made to the Post, its main building the past two years and the work under way at the Legion golf course, Huseboe said it makes perfect sense that they connect the public to the jet.

“Right now, it’s difficult getting out there and many veterans with disability issues cannot get out to the jet,” said Huseboe, who also a member of the American Legion Riders Post 46 group, who is fundraising for the sidewalk.

The Riders envision a 495-foot concrete memorial sidewalk, roughly eight feet wide, with “kick-outs” every 10-12 feet with numerous memorial benches, as well as lighting along the pathway.

Huseboe said because more donors want to add benches and because there is no longer room at the Freedom Rock site, it makes sense to add those structures along the proposed pathway to the fighter jet.

It’s an ambitious project, but Huseboe said the Riders group, which has been involved in numerous remodeling projects at the Post, as well as other veteran-related fundraisers over the years, want to make this particular project a reality.

Huseboe said the estimated $20,000 to $25,000 it will take to construct the pathway, while certainly a challenge, is necessary because in telling the story of the jet and the commitment made by Marshall County’s military veterans, it creates another touchstone in honoring those who have served.

“This is a very opportune time for us to move forward on this,” he said. “The Riders want to continue to do things to that are positive for the community.”

An account has been established at Wells Fargo Bank in Marshalltown, where donations can be made to the “American Legion Riders Memorial Sidewalk” account.

Donors may also contact Huseboe via email at: