NOTE: As promised, AGU-PA State Coordinator Kevin Scholla conducted an interview with Chuck Heath, Sr. as a sequel to his interview with Chuck Heath, Jr. The following interview from SarahNET Radio was originally published on US4Palin and the transcript was prepared by AGU-NY State Coordinator Ron Devito.
TIP: Tune into SarahNET Radio for Kevin’s weekly chats with Bristol Palin about her bold journey on DWTS. Once again Bristol will step outside her comfort zone to: Dance Bristol Dance! The weekly radio series is called, “Breaking it done with Bristol”
Here’s Kevin’s interview with Big Chuck:
Chuck Heath Sr. is the guest on The Palin Update with Kevin Scholla! In part two of a two part special presentation, Sarah Palin’s father talks about Our Sarah: Made In Alaska, the new book he wrote with Chuck Heath Jr. about the incredible Governor Palin. This proud dad discusses Sarah’s childhood, as well as her rise to national prominence. Mr. Heath and Kevin also talk about NFL support for Sarah Palin, the Our Sarah book tour, and even the Heath’s very talented dog.
Introduction and Sign-On
This interview is the second of two parts. Scholla interviewed Chuck Heath, Jr. earlier in the week.
“We are so excited to have Chuck Heath, Sr. here on SarahNET Radio. Welcome, sir,” Scholla said as he signed on and introduced his guest. “Yeah, glad to be here,” Heath said.
“So, what’s it like being Sarah Palin’s dad,” Scholla asked.
“It’s kind of overwhelming lately. This is something that happens to the guy down the street. Not me. We’re more or less a common, ordinary family and when she hit the spotlight, I was kind of bewildered for a long time. A lot of it still hasn’t sunk in, Kevin. I think I addressed that in the book, Our Sarah,” Heath said.
One Adventure After Another…
“You sure did, and you had this wonderful opportunity to write about her along with your son, Chuck, Jr. What was this experience like?” Scholla asked, closing the question with “You Heaths have lived quite a life.”
“Well, yeah it’s not a sedentary life by any means. It’s a life of adventure, one after another. I think we do more in a week or two than most people do in a year or even in a lifetime, but that’s been our way of life. I’ve enjoyed writing this with Chuck [Jr.] because we’ve reminisced about our past so much and – lots of smiles, lots of laughter went into this book,” Heath said.
Gov. Palin Read Newspapers Front to Back in Fourth Grade
“Did you see something special in Sarah at an early age?” Scholla asked. He continued, “I know a lot of parents say this and that about their sons and daughters. I’m going through it now with very little ones. But you have the proof here. In retrospect, do you remember thinking that at all?”
“Well, you know, there’s three questions commonly asked of us. I mean hundreds of times. Number one is, ‘what’s her game plan?’ We don’t know. Number two is what you just said. ‘Did we see this coming?’ And I’d like to say, ‘oh yeah I saw it when she was jumping around in her crib,’ but absolutely not. Absolutely not. I did notice when she was in the fourth grade, she read the newspaper all the time. I would read the sports page and she would grab the front section and then she’d ask me questions about certain articles, and that’s where I got my first inkling that ‘wow, she’s interested in more things besides sports, and gold panning and fishing and things like that,’” Heath said.
“What’s it like for you and your wife Sally to see your daughter, Sarah become such an influential person and a role model to so many people?” Scholla asked.
“Well, needless to say, we’re very, very proud. Yeah, very, very proud. And I heard Chuck, Jr. say, ‘it kind of hurts us when people who don’t even know her or know us knock us.’ The newspaper up here has been terrible and writing very negative things. We don’t even read the newspaper up here anymore. But, generally to answer your question, we are just extremely proud,” Heath said.
“Religion is something you tackle in the book. Christians for sure, but it’s not that simple. The Heaths have had quite a journey when it comes to faith. Can you give listeners a glimpse when it comes to the role faith has played in your family’s life?” Scholla asked.
“Well, [Sarah] got most of her faith and her guidance from her mom. Her mom isn’t a religious nut or anything like that. She’s just a devout Christian and she passed that on to all of our children. In the book, Our Sarah, I comment that my God is the same God you have, but it’s the God of the mountains, the God of the streams, the God of the forests. And, I passed that on to the kids too. And, even today they all go to church reverently, and they’ll continue doing this I’m sure,” Heath said.
Heaths’ Manifest Destiny: Alaska
“You really took a different kind of leap of faith – if you will – when you packed up the family and moved to Alaska. What a bold move there,” Scholla said.
“Well, that was a dream for years, and years, and years. I would have come up sooner, but I couldn’t afford to move. I was teaching in Idaho and I taught three years in Idaho. When I got out of college, I wanted to come to Idaho, but I didn’t have the money to move up there. You know, when I came up [to Alaska] I was teaching ninth grade in Idaho and 10 of my students from one class had moved up into our town or in our area. They do the same thing I do. They gold pan, they beach comb, they hunt, they fish, so it’s a lifestyle we had in Idaho, but not as extensive,” Heath said.
From Citizen Palin to Gov. Palin…
“The book of course eventually goes into the political arena. When Sarah first got involved in politics, did you ever think, ‘wait a minute! Huge things are about to happen here, or did you think it was just going to be a local mayor deal’? Scholla asked.
“Well, when she first started, I thought she was in over her head, because she butted heads with some very important, very influential people, and when she kept winning, I was very dismayed and also very, very proud. And, when she became mayor, I thought, ‘well that was the end of it.’ Then, when she went for governor, I said, ‘holy cow!’ and I think I even encouraged her to go for Lieutenant Governor, because she was running up against an incumbent – the incumbent governor and what have you – a big name and she whacked him. I mean she had such a great following, mainly because of her sincerity and her honesty,” Heath said.
No TV for Little Sarah…
“What about little Sarah? You had a lot of fun didn’t you, hunting and fishing together, father-daughter events – great memories there?” Scholla asked.
“Oh yeah. Like Chuck (Jr.) said, they got very little television time. The television they had in the winter even I had in the back room with no heat. I remember, they turned the television on; the tube would condense and ice up. It might be 20 below in that back room, so they didn’t watch that much television. And a lot of our television programs were tape-delayed. Like Monday Night Football. The tapes were flown up maybe on Tuesday, so things weren’t quite like they are today,” Heath said.
NFL Palin Support
“And speaking of that, why don’t you tell us a little about something you’re going to be doing. I think something involving the Packers,” Scholla said.
“Oh, I became a good Packer fan in the early ’60s. I was fortunate enough to play in the same high school football team with Jerry Kramer who went on as an All Pro for several years with the Green Bay Packers in the ’60s. He made an infamous block on Jethro Pugh if you remember in the Ice Bowl and what have you – and I played quite a bit of football in high school and some in college – and Jerry made me look good. He was such a good blocker. In college, I didn’t have Jerry’s block for me and I didn’t do that well in college, but I’m still in contact with Jerry and in fact his brother got me a job. I addressed that in Our Sarah. He got me a job in the Anchorage School District. His next door neighbor was the assistant superintendent and just one phone call. That’s all it took,” Heath said.
“That’s amazing. I know Jerry’s done a lot of NFL film work over the years, commentary, and whatnot after retiring, and guys like me being able to enjoy that Ice Bowl who weren’t around at the time, but let me say as a Bears fan, you know – we’re going to be cordial here – I will tell you this, Mr. Heath: You know Mike Ditka of course did come out in support of Sarah in ’08, so we do some backers here from Chicago as well,” Scholla said.
“Mike Webster from the Steelers was a good Sarah supporter too. He sent her memorabilia, autographed pictures and everything, but Mike Ditka, yeah he’s kind of a mentor for me too. I just like his style,” Heath said.
Our Sarah: Made in Alaska, Part II Already Being Worked On
“Writing this book, sir is there anything you remember that you may not have thought of again if you didn’t have a book project and really had to sit down and dig in?” Scholla asked.
“Well, there’s lots of things that we put in there. Lots of stories that the editor deleted throughout. She thought it wasn’t ‘newsworthy’ so to say and what have you. Now, Chuck, Jr. is already starting to write another book and a lot of these stories will be in that book. They were very close and important to us,” Heath said.
Work Hard, Play Hard…
“Now, the Heaths and Palins have this ‘work hard and play just as hard attitude’ and that really comes across in the book. You just really had a lot of fun with your family, haven’t you?” Scholla asked.
“Oh, yeah! One adventure after another. It’s not sittin’ around and twiddling your thumbs and what have you. It’s go, go, go, especially like the commercial fishing, and I guided and my wife camp cooked for me and my clients. It’s always something. We don’t sit around. I’ll sit around when I’m in a wheelchair,” Heath said.
Proud of All Four Children…
“Just from your voice – I mean we know this already, but just from your voice, just the way you talk, you’re a proud dad of four wonderful children aren’t you?” Scholla said.
“Oh yeah. Despite me, they’ve all turned out real well,” Heath started. “We’re crediting Sally again, right?” Scholla asked jokingly. “Two are teachers, one is a dental hygienist, and Sarah whatever we want to call her – a politician, I guess. Yeah, they’ve all done a good job,” Heath said.
On the Book Tour…
“Are you excited for the book tour?” Scholla asked.
“Yes. I went on the Going Rogue tour when Sarah did her tour. I think we went to 38 cities and what have you. I didn’t go to the first three cities, because it just didn’t seem interesting to me, but my wife went and after the three cities, she said, ‘you get back here!’ so I flew back and met them in Rochester. And it was really a highlight, and really a highlight of the whole political scene Sarah was involved in. The people would just approach her and they couldn’t even speak when they went up to talk to her. The expressions on their faces – oh we were received so well nationwide. Yeah, 38 cities, 25 states,” Heath said.
The Heaths’ Labrador Retriever an Antler Dog…
“Well, it’s just a wonderful book, and I think it just captures everything that those of us who already support Gov. Palin know – that it’s the extraordinary part of her, but also the very ordinary part of her and all of you and it’s a wonderful tight, close-knit family that people can relate to in a lot of ways. I do have to add, sir that – a bit off topic – I spoke to your son-in-law, Todd about your dog and I’m a lab guy myself. Now, your chocolate lab can do some really incredible stuff,” Scholla said.
“Well, he’s what we call an antler dog. Supposedly, it’s in his genes, but you can teach a lab to do anything. But, he goes out, finds, and brings back shed antlers. He also – I read about it once, so I started training him – I’d hide money around the yard and around the house and he has a command, “Money!”. He goes and picks up the dollar bills or whatever I hide around and so, he’s just a good dog, you know. If you have labs, you know what I’m talking about. They’re all basically the same,” Heath said.
Farewell and Sign-Off
“Well, maybe they could send him to Washington. They can find out where all the money’s going….I saw when he was on the television program – Sarah Palin’s Alaska – you know ‘if I ever talk to Mr. Heath, I have to talk about this – you know as lab people, but great stuff. Sir, thank you much for spending some time with us today. God bless and all the best to all the Heaths and Palins, and we’re really looking forward to see how well this book does. We’re sure it’s going to be a smash hit,” Scholla said.
“Okay, Kevin, our pleasure, thanks a lot,” Heath said. “Thank you, sir. Take care,” Scholla responded. “You hang in there,” Heath said in his farewell.
“Chuck Heath, Sr. – quite a guy. Great pictures in this book too, folks. Talk about having a cool dad. You have to see one shot of him with his motorcycle as younger man. He looks like he’s straight out of Easy Rider. The Heath kids must have really had a blast with Chuck Heath as their dad. He’s obviously so very proud for good reason of his Sarah. The book, Our Sarah: Made in Alaska is out now and available everywhere. It’s also available in audio CD and audiobook unabridged formats,” Scholla said. It is also available as a Kindle book.
The Heaths began their book tour in Rochester, New York today after spending a week in Manhattan on a pre-tour media roll-out. Their next stop is The Villages, Florida on Monday.
Our work continues.
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