Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New Port Richey man honors fallen soldiers with patriotic display

Chopper Davis looks across his lawn at the 216 American flags he has displayed, each one representing a Floridian killed while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

BRENDAN FITTERER | Times

Chopper Davis looks across his lawn at the 216 American flags he has displayed, each one representing a Floridian killed while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

NEW PORT RICHEY — Just before 7 a.m. Friday, Chopper Davis went out to get the newspaper and glanced at the 216 American flags on his front lawn. They were all there, each one representing a Floridian killed while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

But when he left for work about an hour later, Davis realized someone had just trampled through his display, knocking down or snapping the poles of about two dozen of the 9-inch by 12-inch flags.

"I'm disappointed," said Davis, 60, late Friday morning.

Davis is known in the city as the former owner of Jilly's downtown bar, which he ran from 1983 to 1992. He is known, too, for organizing charity benefits, and he later worked for the Center for Independence, which provides services to people who are developmentally disabled. He now works in retail sales for the St. Petersburg Times.

His home is just off Madison Street, south of downtown. He has put up the small flags every Veterans Day and Memorial Day for the last three years. He varies the length of time he keeps them flying. One year, his wife, Lori, persuaded him to keep them up through Christmas.

To explain why he does it, Davis talks about his own family. He served in the U.S. Army, stateside, during the Vietnam War. His father was in the Air Force. He had uncles in the military, and a distant relative even served in the War of 1812. (Davis inherited the saber that soldier carried into war.)

"I just pay attention," he said, talking about the flag display, "and it came to me to do it."

Davis thinks the culprits may have been kids on their way to school; they are usually the only ones walking through his neighborhood between 7 and 8 a.m. But he isn't wasting much time trying to figure out who.

By late morning, he had taken a hammer and started pounding new flags into the ground.

An elderly man walking his dog by the home stopped as Davis worked. "Thank you, Chopper, for your display!" he called out.

The man said he'd been in the service, too. "I got my Purple Heart and all that," he said.

Davis thanked him for his service and went back to the flags. He had more in his garage. These days, he buys them in bulk.

"Sadly," he said, "the numbers increase."

Jodie Tillman can be reached at (727) 869-6247 or jtillman@sptimes.com.

New Port Richey man honors fallen soldiers with patriotic display 11/14/08 [Last modified: Saturday, November 15, 2008 11:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bullpen melts down as Rays lose to Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jacob Faria allowed his first two big-league home runs and was touched for a career-high three runs Saturday by the Orioles. Other than that, the rookie making his fourth major-league start did okay against the Baltimore bats.

    The bullpen, not so much.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Baltimore Orioles scored four runs during the eighth inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 24, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) SPD118
  2. Lightning shifts search for defense to free agency

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — As much as he tried, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman left the weekend's draft without acquiring another top-four defenseman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101
  3. Half of Florida lawmakers fail or nearly fail review of support for public records

    State Roundup

    WEST PALM BEACH — Half of Florida's legislators failed or nearly failed in a review of their support for public records and meetings given by Florida newspapers and an open-government group after this year's legislative sessions.

    State Senator Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton (left) and Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran ranked on opposite sides of the spectrum in an analysis of support for open records. Galvano scored a B-minus and Corcoran scored a D-plus.
[Times file photo]
  4. Yale dean on leave over offensive Yelp reviews leaves post

    Bizarre News

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Yale University dean who was placed on leave over offensive reviews she posted on Yelp has left her position at the Ivy League institution, school officials said Tuesday.

  5. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]