CEDAR FALLS — Vandals struck over the holiday weekend, damaging the less-than-year-old Freedom Rock in Cedar Falls.
Black spray paint covered a portion of the large painted rock at Cedar Falls Veterans Park on Waterloo Road. The vandalism likely occurred late Saturday or early Sunday.
Tom Hagarty, commander of the Cedar Falls American Legion No. 237, said the vandals also struck other areas around the park.
“Visitors I have encountered so far are just so disappointed,” Hagarty said.
The vandalism is on the side of the rock with Taylor Morris’ drawing. A neighbor’s fence on nearby Bluff Street also was sprayed as was a utility box near the park.
The rock includes images of the Five Sullivan Brothers killed in World War II; Medal of Honor winner Robert Hibbs of Cedar Falls, a U.S. Army second lieutenant killed in Vietnam in 1966; and Taylor Morris, a U.S. Navy explosive ordnance disposal expert who survived a bomb blast in Afghanistan despite losing portions of all four limbs. It also bears an image of veterans and people of various generations saluting the flag.
It was painted by Greenfield artist Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II, who’s hoping to locate a Freedom Rock in every county in the state.
It was completed last year and dedicated last November.
Cedar Falls police and parks department officials have been notified and the investigation continues. Hagarty said Sunday the parks department will coordinate the cleanup. A Memorial Day ceremony at the park Sunday night went on as planned.
Hagarty said Monday the removal of the graffiti needs to be done in “baby steps.”
“There are three protective sealant coats on the art work, so we are hoping it will be removed easily,” he said.
He added a number of groups, including the Cedar Falls Fire Department union members, have offered to cover the costs of the repair. People also are wanting to make donations.
“We have an insurance policy on the rock for vandalism, etc., (but) who would have thought we would need it in less than a year since we installed the rock,” Hagarty said.