CAMP VERDE - For the past four years, Gary Chamberlain of Cornville has made it his priority to rid the Verde Valley of litter.
As self-proclaimed Point Man with Folksville USA, Chamberlain thanks his father, Joe, for the work ethic needed to take on such a thankless task.
"My father was a valuable role model in many respects, and I'm thankful for that," Chamberlain said. "Too many children are missing good parents and role models."
"My five siblings and I gave our parents every opportunity to hone their parenting skills."
Chamberlain talks at great length about his mother and father, lamenting how parents of today seem to have lost the ability to dole out tough love, instead traveling the path of friendship with their offspring.
"My parents were parents," Chamberlain said. "They weren't our buddy or friend. They, not we, were in charge. They were there to prepare us for life and the challenges life brings. They wouldn't have ever endorsed [the idiom that] everyone is a winner, for that's not life in the real world. Both of my parents were competitive in their own way. They both liked winning, and taught us to be good losers and to learn from the losses.
"My father never required his children to do anything that he hadn't or wouldn't do himself," Chamberlain said. "He taught his children that there is no free lunch and that there is a cost for everything, including laziness. He taught us that freedom isn't free and the price of freedom has been paid for with the blood of our forefathers. He taught us that freedom would continually need to be defended in the home, in these United States and throughout the world."
"My father was raised in a farm and ranching environment and that gave him adult responsibilities at a very young age," Chamberlain said. "Many of the lessons my father learned, he learned from his father; he taught these lessons to his six children."
One of the things that Chamberlain's father taught him was that a person's words hold no value if he does not back them with action.
"My first business lesson taught me that a cow being milked for five cents per milking would have yielded $3 per month instead of $1.50, if I had remembered that a cow is milked twice per day, not once," Chamberlain said. "My father held me to the $1.50 I had requested, and the lesson learned was that a verbal agreement and a handshake was a contract to be honored."
"There are people who do things. And there are people that talk about doing things," the elder Chamberlain said.
"Anybody can work a jaw muscle. But it takes somebody special to work a jaw muscle and a butt muscle, a leg muscle and an arm muscle. Actions and words have to go together."