Newspaper Archive of
The Adams County Record
Council, Idaho
December 26, 2012     The Adams County Record
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December 26, 2012

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Page 6 Wednesday, December 26, 2012 The Adams County Record Community Spotlight Ben Drinkwine, sole proprietor of Independent Tractor North, thrives on honesty and decency. He likes living in Council, saying "it's as close to God's country as you can get:' He respects his customers, ranchers and farmers who've trusted him for decades. Most of all, he admires the service organizations he works so hard for--the American Legion, the Lions Club, and the Odd Fellows. Ben's family understood good work ethics. His Minnesota grandparents scratched out a living on a rocky Payette homestead. His father built an honest, successful business in scrap iron and furs. By age 6 Ben milked cows and passed up sports for home chores. Tragically his father died of a heart attack when Ben was 14. His sister, Goldie, raised him while his mother worked. Running wild in his teens, racing his 194i Ford Coupe stock car, he joined the army in 1968. First he was stationed at Maryland, then Germany, then Fort Knox. "I'd never been anywhere before;' he shared. "I grew up in the service. You learn purpose in life there:' His service tour gave him expert skills in heavy artillery repair. Employment was scarce when he returned home, and instead of drawing his 52 weeks of unemployment, he found a job. He and his first wife soon had 3 wonderful children. Mechanics always appealed tohim. Ben has sold and repaired farm equipment for over 40 years. He worked for the Gordon Ford tractor dealership in Ontario 16 years before opening his own business, Independent Tractor North. He admired his boss, Jack Gordon, a trustworthy businessman who built a business from scratch. When Jack's company downsized, Ben lost his job, but kept his reliable reputation. In 1986 he opened for business. Many Tears later, a thieving secretary absconded with $40,000, throwing him into bankruptcy. His reliability kept him working even after the disaster. "Ranchers and farmers are the greatest people in the world" he affirmed. "We do business on a handshakeY He appreciates the long-term relationships with his customers. "But. we're all getting old;' he sighed. "American tractors were the greatest in the world, but now nothing I'm aware of under 100 horsepower is made in America anymore;' he grieved. He prefers the reliability of the old tractors. New farm equipment is extremely expensive, tractors are computer driven, and big shops carry tremendous overhead. Tractor repair can run over $100 an Ben "nkwine Business on a Handshake hour. Family farmers and ranchers barely survive. Ben does his best to keep them going. Nearly 65, he hasn't slowed down much. "I don't do dormant;' he explained. He claims he retired two years ago. "But all I got was tired. Nobody lost my phone number" to He still sells and repairs equipment. The favors he performs and his community activities fill his time. He enjoys Lions Club membership, the Odd Fellows fellowship, and the service to veterans, he helps give as the current Commander of the American Legion. He praised the active role the American Legion plays in the nation and in Council. The US American Legion formed in 1919 to help WWI veterans. They: instigated the GI Bill and advocate for the Veterans Administration. Membership in the Council Legion runs about 100, with 25 active members. They form an honor guard for all parades and military funerals. For Memorial Day, they and the Legion Auxiliary decorate every veteran's grave, and they contribute many needed commodities the community and veterans' families. Members dedicated hundreds of hours to erect the Devon Daniels gazebo and maintain the Legion grounds for. public use, like the Council Mountain Music Festival. The Legion sponsors other community activities including Boys State--Girls State for students, and the annual free Veterans Day dinner. Ben encourages younger vets to ioin. "I hope they understand we don't just sit around and swap war stories;' he asserted. The Lions Club also supports the community, particularly with youngsters' vision screening and helping the needy with eye treatment. Ben is generous with his time and his finances. "I've probably given away half the money I've made;' he admitted. "We've never had much, but we've never missed a meal either. We're just sharing some of what the Lord has given usY He praised Council's similar caring and support. "Every time someone has a disaster the money and relief flow out:' Ben expressed special gratitude for his 35-year marriage with Lee. "My business never would have survived without her;' he shared. His first marriage ended after eight years. Lee, a former waitress, worked side by side with him and ran his office until child care expenses kept her home. Between them they raised 9 children. Lee had 5, Ben had 3 and they made one together. Sadly they lost daught&, Patty, to breast cancer when she was only 42, and later lost a grandchild. Now with 24 grandchildren and over a dozen great grandchildren, they appreciate the good citizens they have brought into the world. They moved to Council in 2001. Ben'loved the area; Lee yearned for a. pine tree, a porch and a creek. "We By Deb Wilson have trees, a pond and two porches here;' Ben grinned. Lee's the gardener; Ben's the fisherman, but health problems have slowed them both down. Lee almost died in 2005, and requires regular breathing treatments. They both suffered lung damage from previous cigarette smoking. When Ben was 49 a life insurance health exam discovered his diabetes. A year later, hunting a cougar alone, he suffered a heart attack and barely made it home. He credits modern medicine with the quadruple bypass that saved his life, but it was expensivel "That's a $100,000 cougar hanging on my wall;' he snickered. Last year, pneumonia put him in the hospital for 10 days. "I woke up and saw my whole family, who'd flown in from all over the country;' he remembers gratefully. He's also grateful for the many good cooks in his family and his excellent friends, Alvin Yantis, Syl Menichetti and Charles Lively. He avoids television or reading the news, but he shares time with his wife and beloved dogs, while Lee knits beautiful d6cor. He's concerned about lack of employment for young people here. "We can't get any work for them, and that needs to change. But at the same time, some people are laid back here and don't want to change. I wish I had the answers. There's room for both; we just need to find the balance." One thing he's sure of. He's found home here and will never leave. CHILDREN! Ckeck Lt o t!! Pharmacy Technician Inside Adams County Health center 205 N. Berkley, Council 208-253-4957 Monday - Thursday 9am to 6pm Friday 9am to 5pm Closed for lunch from I I -- I rau, II oMoy I i b.aand i VALLEY REPAIRS & SERVICES [ Cattle Sale [, Butcher Cattle Sale , I CO. TTTONWOOD, AI-IO (21 8) 962-32.84 [ Windshield Repairs & Reolacements l" ,o:ooaM I I ,o:ooaM I 66 ~ I Sales are Fridays at 12:30 PM. IWe mtl! come to gou ;2 I21111& 41115alllrllay I [ Dennis Rowland- Owner Cell: 208-983-7400 [ Most Comprehensive Insurance [ Pigs, sheep, and goats I I S4Sl.4415 [ pays 100% of Chip Repair I n:oohM [ Br~mt Rowland, Rep. Cell: 20 Brian & Cyndi Dunham Bauer..Indian Valley, Idaho ~11 1901 E. Chiea~0, Ca]dweLl, Idaho (208) 256 4315 "'|1 o. i80o-7 . 9 www.cottonwoodlivestock .corn