|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company
Freedom Climb honors memory of fallen hometown hero
BY JIM POTTS
LIVINGSTON – First United Methodist Church (FUMC) will host the 9th Annual Freedom Climb honoring fallen Army Pfc. Stuart Moore immediately after the 11 a.m. service Sunday. The annual event, usually held the last weekend in April, features a variety of challenging activities for adults and children 9 years old and up, free food, live music and worship service for all attendees. The Freedom Climb will also host a number of military and political offi cials, who plan to attend the event as part of a fl ag presentation ceremony by Honor and Remember, a group dedicated to providing personalized fl ags for the surviving family of every fallen soldier. Moore died Dec. 22, 2003, after his convoy struck an improvised explosive device while traveling in Baghdad, Iraq. Devastated by the loss of their son, Dennis and Pamela Moore refused offers of fl owers. Instead they asked for donations in hopes of building a memorial honoring Polk County’s fi rst fallen soldier of the second Iraq war. While mourning their son, Pamela and Dennis remembered his love of the outdoors, established at an early age as a boyscout. Stuart Moore, an avid hunter, angler and rock climber, planned to one day open an indoor rock climbing facility, but that day never came. “[Rock climbing] was his love. One of his goals, when he got out of the Army, was he wanted to comeback, work for his dad and open an indoor rock climbing gym. We opened the gym for him, but it’s outdoors,” Pamela Moore said. “When Stuart was killed, we knew we did not want fl owers. They look pretty for a week and then they are gone. We started an account with First National Bank and requested, in lieu of fl owers, that people could make donations and at that time we did not know what we were going to do with it, but we were going to do something for a memorial. “After a month or two we decided, but we needed a place to build it. We presented it to our church because we also needed someone to pay for the insurance and the church pays for that,” she added. Stuart Moore’s troop, the 1st Armored Division, also made a huge donation after returning to the U.S. the following summer. Soon after, the FUMC went to work on the fi rst element, Freedom Tower, which would later become an obstacle course that could rival a military confi dence course. Over the years, through additional donations and the efforts of FUMC volunteers, the FUMC added a trapeze, wire suspended climbing logs, an inverted log and many other park additions. When not hosting the Freedom Climb, the FUMC also allows groups to use the park under the supervision of certifi ed volunteers. The FUMC requires a $100 deposit in the form of a donation, cashed only by request of the group or if the group does not show up on the scheduled day. The April 22 Freedom Climb will not require a donation. “It’s character building and it’s pretty fun. You should see the parents taking photos. They love this,” Pamela Moore said. “We have a new preacher, Pastor Steve Woody, who is going to start that Sunday and he will have a guest preacher, Alfred Matthews, who is a chaplain in the military and he will do the sermon for that day in honor of the military. [Matthews] will also try to climb the Freedom Tower for the fi rst time.” The Freedom Climb begins 9 a.m. Sunday, April 22 with a contemporary worship service, followed by an 11 a.m. traditional service and lunch at noon. The physical activities begin at 1 p.m. To make donations or for more information regarding the Freedom Climb contact Pamela Moore at 936-967-2929.