Essential Worker Honors Family Heritage and Generous American Spirit, Delivering Hope in a Mitsubishi Outlander

Jack Chalensouk drove all night to help a Native American community in need

Jack Chalensouk drove all night to help a Native American community in need

Jack Chalensouk's family, like millions before them, came to America for a better life. Growing up, his parents instilled a quiet confidence and a deep sense of civic responsibility in their children. When his sister, Kathryn, told him about an opportunity to give back to a Native American community hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, Jack waited until a break in his schedule as a mail carrier, loaded up his Mitsubishi Outlander with essential supplies, and hit the road.

In his words, "I didn't have a lot growing up. My parents were war refugees; we lived on food stamps. Growing up in that type of environment, whenever you see another community in need, it makes you want to help out." The pair drove all night – from Southern California where he lives, to Las Vegas where his sister lives, and arriving at the remote Hopi Indian reservation in Arizona around lunchtime the next day.

After learning about his story, and meeting the empathetic, generous and adventurous Jack through Instagram, Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) spoke with him to learn more about his family and what it meant to give back to the Hopi community. You can also see Jack's story online here, in the latest installment of the Small Batch – Big Impact short-film series. 

MMNA: When you're not commuting to work or giving back to the community, you're exploring the trails and terrain of Southern California in your Outlander. What appealed to you most about the vehicle?

JACK: In 2016, I was in the market for a new car and stumbled upon the Outlander Sport. I began reading about Mitsubishi's off-road performance and racing history, and it was inspiring. So inspiring, I got the car, and I began to venture out of my Southern California community a bit more. I took it on camping and hiking trips – to Pinnacles National Park and the Grand Canyon – and I put 70,000 miles on the car in two years. As I began going on more adventures, hauling more gear and more friends, I realized I needed a slightly bigger car. I loved the dependability and reliability of the brand; I loved the Super All-Wheel control; so, I stuck with Mitsubishi and bought a red 2018 Outlander (named Chili).

MMNA: Have you made any modifications to Chili to match this adventurous lifestyle?
Jack: I've added a set of 17-inch wheels with Toyo A/T III tires to help with traction on the trails. And I got a 1.5-inch  lift kit, which was installed for me by a mom-and-pop shop here in town. I really believe in supporting small, local businesses, especially now.

MMNA: It sounds like this is a value, among many others, instilled in you by your parents. You mention in the film that they were war refugees. Tell us a little bit about their story.

JACK: My parents are from Laos. When the Vietnam War broke out, they fled to a refugee camp in Thailand, and my older sister was born in that camp. My uncle was the first one to come to America, to fight in the Army, and he was able to sponsor my family to come to America. My parents first came to San Diego, which is where I was born, and they still live in California. It is important to them that we honor the sacrifices they made, and we give back whenever we can to the country that gave so much to us.

MMNA: Your sister Kathryn has really taken this to heart and volunteers her time regularly. What stuck out to her about this opportunity – enough to get you involved?

JACK: I feel that the Hopi people and their story are not well known, similar to the Laotian people and their story. In this way, us helping them is like invisible people helping other invisible people. When I first decided to do this, I reached out to friends, family and coworkers to ask for donations – clean water, paper towels, tooth brushes and toothpaste – the very basics. No one hesitated. I learned that the Hopi story resonates with more than just my family. When I got off work that day, I drove straight to Vegas to pick up my sister and more supplies. We slept for just a few hours and then drove the rest of the way to the Hopi Cultural Center in the center of the Reservation. COVID-19 has made many people feel powerless, but this opportunity to give back, and the support of our community, made us feel empowered to do something good.

MMNA: This is not a one-time-thing for you. You have dedicated your career to giving back to your community. Tell us about that.

JACK: I have been a mail carrier for six or seven years. My favorite thing about the job is talking to people. I am the only person some people see, let along talk to, on a daily basis – especially now, with the virus. They rely on me for human interaction. It is important for me to get to know the people on my route, and to learn their stories, because I know how important it was for my family to be heard and seen when we first came to America. 

MMNA: This is an exciting time for Mitsubishi, as we just unveiled the all-new 2022 Outlander. Did you watch the reveal?

JACK: I did watch the reveal and loved it. No disrespect to Chili, but the interior of the new Outlander is a huge upgrade, and I can't wait to test the updated version of the Super All-Wheel Control system, with all of the different off-road driving modes. I love being out on the trails with friends, and even more than that, I love it when their cars get stuck and mine doesn't. And the Outlander really stands out – I love that I don't see other Mitsubishis at a stoplight. That said, I've made a number of friends in the Mitsubishi enthusiast community too – some who I have been out with on the trails, some who I have never met in person, but interact with on social media. We share the same love for adventure. All of us watched the reveal and are excited for the future of Mitsubishi.

Mitsubishi unveiled the all-new Outlander in February through a first-of-its kind collaboration with Amazon. The all-new flagship boasts a newly developed platform and powertrain, bold and distinctive exterior styling and a refined and serene interior with high-end finishes and thoughtful engineering touches throughout. The 2022 Outlander also features more standard driver connectivity and driver assistance features and a re-engineered, upgraded version of the brand's signature Super All-Wheel Control system. 1. Learn more about the Outlander online here.

To learn more about the Mitsubishi Motors Community, including other owners and dealer partners, visit the Community section of MMNA's media site.


1. Available feature. Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) adds Active Yaw Control (AYC) to realize the AWC concept at a very high level. While this Integrated Vehicle Dynamics Control System manages the driving forces and braking forces of the four wheels to help realize vehicle behavior that is faithful to the operation by the driver under a variety of driving conditions, it is not a substitute for careful driving. S-AWC cannot prevent collisions or loss of traction in all conditions. Exercise caution so your full attention is given to vehicle operation in all road conditions.

About Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.
Through a network of approximately 330 dealer partners across the United States, Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) is responsible for the sales, marketing, and customer service of Mitsubishi Motors vehicles in the U.S. MMNA was the top-ranked Japanese brand in the J.D. Power 2020 Initial Quality study, ranking sixth overall and experiencing the greatest year-over-year improvement of any brand.

With headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee, and corporate operations in California, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, Texas, Florida, and Virginia, MMNA, directly and indirectly, employs more than 8,000 people across the United States.

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