Jim Chancellor of Hobart knows about war and patriotism. He was wounded in Vietnam, active in development and operation of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Stoney Run County Park. He had a Web site developed called patriotcollection.com that was related to the VeteransCollection.com he also created offering patriotic clothing, signs, emblems and flags. His Web site creator, Johnny Mathis of Valparaiso, urged him to expand into a local outlet. “Let those who haven’t been patriots be patriots now,” Chancellor said Mathis told him.
told him. “I was very reluctant to go that route,” Chancellor said recently. “I am thin-skinned and I didn’t want anyone to think I was just some-body jumping on the bandwagon to make money off the events that happened to our nation.” Eventually, however, he opened a kiosk in the center court of Southlake Mall, selling many patriotic items.
Still feeling thin-skinned, Chancellor took a space at the rear of the kiosk to display his mementos, including some of his uniforms, his Purple Heart and a Medal of Valor. He also has his dog tags on display, along with those of his father, Sandy, from World War II, and his son Jim, who served during peacetime. Chancellor said that he tries to talk to as many people as he can about the mementos and his experiences. Chancellor said he received the medals for action that took place in Vietnam when a helicopter in which he was a door gunner was shot down. American GIs rescued him and his fellow crewmen. He also designed and produced a Vietnam vets’ pin that he said was endorsed and worn by Gen. William Westmoreland, the longtime American commander in Vietnam, and was requested by famed comedian and entertainer of GIs, Bob Hope. “I was on the stage with Hope at the Star Plaza when he was here for a veterans’ memorial ceremony,” Chancellor said. He also stresses that all items on sale at his kiosk, including small American flags, are made in the United States. “They are produced here and are not computer-designed,” he said. According to Chancellor, one logo on a military hat for sale has 10,000 stitches; another on the same hat has 4,900 stitches, all done by Chris Trowbridge of Express Marketing in Hobart. “None of our designs are just pressed on,” he said. Trowbridge stocked and opened his kiosk Oct. 1 and will operate it through the Christmas shopping season. It is in the kiosk area at the center of Southlake Mall and is marked on the front by a large American flag and his VeteransCollection.com logo.