Independence County Judge Robert Griffin shared in an e-mail to county leadership and local media the new, revised county seal. The release from Judge Griffin below explains each element within the design, addresses the selection of the previous design from a designer abroad, contest promotion, and more.
When the QC picked a seal, they acknowledged in the meeting that it would need revisions to meet local sensitivities. It was selected for the symbolism contained in the sheet provided by the creator and it met so many qualities of our county. No one knew the seal was sent from Norway and none of us could have suspected it would have been possible since it mentioned so many things about our county, including as a prime example, Mark Martin and racing.
When it was revealed the seal was from a Norwegian, it only made it special that someone from another nation, on a different continent, would have taken the time to learn that much about us. The trout was not a fish we would have used but he learned how great a trout fishery the White River was. Little could he have known we are a little bit away from the real trout fishing. The truth is that he put in an effort that was remarkable.
For the record, I had contacted all of the schools to see if their EAST programs might wish to participate in this. There were some of our local graphics people notified as well about the competition. I put out two press releases concerning it and social media notice as well, which was shared and commented upon. Several talented people were tagged on social media notice as well. Notice was abundant but only two local people submitted any seals for consideration. The good news is that one of these was considered in the redesign of the seal, not exactly but enough to give credit to the submitter if the QC adopts the attached as our official seal.
More so, I recruited a local graphics person, still a secret whom, to do exactly what the QC knew would need to be done to have an acceptable seal. The seal attached is the result of a Norwegian’s view from Norway of Independence County, coupled with a local design that was considered and brought to life by a local designer. I would have never thought that a seal competition would have traveled that path but truly, we have something unique.
The symbolism is as follows: The Liberty Bell is featured since our name came from the Declaration of Independence. Of course, the image of our county holds the bell. In that image, 1820, the year of our birth. Freedom shines all around the Liberty Bell. Our local higher institutions of learning are featured under the bell as true freedom involves an informed and knowledgeable public. Our great natural resources are featured by the river flowing across the landscape and with the largemouth bass and the deer. The rivers, both the Black and White were prominent in our development and trade.
Agriculture, of many types, has long been a stabilizing factor for our County. A few stalks of corn and a cow represents that with the chicken being a great producer of jobs in our county through processing and production, thereby blending agriculture with industry.
Racing is represented in the outer ring along with our mining history and quarries. Many may not know of the manganese mining around Cushman during WW2. It is used in making steel and that was a scare resource in that time of war. Our quarries produce materials that go all over the nation. Quarried stone from here is present in the Arkansas State Capitol. Sand mining is currently being done in our county. All this activity is representing many jobs.
And then we have the alternating red, white and blue border, a representation of the true patriotic spirit of the citizens of Independence County. This seal says so much and most of the imagery was from a citizen of Norway that he found out through his research. He was on target in his intent and we are honored by his work. He found a place he would like to visit and live. It brings out that we are an inclusive and accepting community that follows the Declaration upon which we are named: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness..” No matter where you live or who you are, we value your contributions to our county. Least you don’t notice the sunrise/sunset on an endless horizon, showing our potential is unlimited and we have a bright future as we move into the next 200 years.