Redbook magazine has bestowed the title of “America’s Hottest Husband” on an Iowan who’s known for his patriotic artwork on the “Freedom Rock” near Greenfield. Thirty-year-old Ray Sorensen of Greenfield goes by the nickname “Bubba” and he got 15-thousand votes in the magazine’s online contest.

“I can’t believe it,” Sorensen says. “I was thinking if I can get that many votes, maybe I should run for office or something.” Sorensen and his wife, Maria, have been keeping his “Hottest Husband” title a secret for a couple of months, but the Redbook issue announcing Sorensen won the contest has now hit the newsstands. Sorensen’s 24-year-old wife, Maria, nominated him for the contest. Redbook describes Sorensen as a man with a “slow smile, strong shoulders and piercing blue eyes.”

“I’ve never heard myself described that way, but I guess my wife…is always saying sweet things like that to me. I’m just glad that she took the time to write an essay,” Sorensen says. “…I can’t believe it.” The Sorensens have been married for nearly three years and because Bubba is now Redbook’s Hottest Husband in America, they’ve won a week-long vacation to Antiqua.

“We were planning on taking a honeymoon after our wedding, but our dog got hit by a car 10 days before the wedding and so we spent our money fixing him, you know, taking him up to Iowa State to make sure we saved his leg and it worked. We kind of call him our ‘honeymoon’ dog,” Sorensen says. “So now we actually get to take a honeymoon.” Sorensen owns a photography and arts studio in Greenfield. His wife calls him a true romantic as Sorensen always hides a love note for her in his paintings.

“Sometimes I’ll write our names. Sometimes I’ll just write her name. Sometimes I’ll incorporate symbols that mean something to us, kind of inside deals that other people wouldn’t notice or recognize,” Sorensen says. “It just depends what I’m feeling when I’m painting…It’s kind of a way to keep our love eternal…After we’re gone and my paintings are still around, it might be something fun for people to try and look for.”

In 1999, Sorensen saw the film “Saving Private Ryan” and he decided to paint a patriotic image on a 60-ton rock that sits near an old rock quarry as a tribute to World War Two veterans. He has repainted the “Freedom Rock” each May ever since, with the new images done in time for Memorial Day weekend. The rock sits near Interstate-80, along Highway 25 north of Greenfield.

By Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic