Roger That Podcast Ep 9: Breast Cancer Awareness MonthOctober 9, 2023
Roger That Podcast Ep 10: Veterans Day Special – Honoring the Hoosier Heroes on HVAF’s Board of DirectorsOctober 23, 2023
We are less than a month away from HVAF’s signature fundraising event, Operation Alpha. On November 10, we will gather for our 10th Annual Operation Alpha, thanks to an incredible partnership with Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery.
Hotel Tango is a local distillery in Indianapolis, founded by Travis and Hilary Barnes (the H and T in Hotel Tango). Travis is a Marine Corps veteran, who was motivated to join the military after the attacks on our nation on September 11, 2001. Travis served three tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom, seeing extensive combat during his time overseas. Upon his honorable discharge from the Marine Corps, Travis came home and attended law school.
It was actually during his time as a student that I first met Travis. He was interning in the Office of US Senator Richard Lugar, where I had the honor of working as well. He was a serious intern, his military service and life experience set him apart from his peers.
Fast forward to 2014, Travis and Hilary and a few friends opened Hotel Tango Distillery. It was fairly unusual (unheard of!) that Lugar interns pursued careers in the distilling business, but Travis’ commitment to community service is completely aligned with those who were impacted by the example of Senator Lugar. I have a quote from the Senator hanging on my office wall that says, “We must believe, always, that we can make a difference for the good if our faith is strong, our cooperation with others is outstanding, and we have enough imagination to find new solutions and the follow through to see them mature.” That call to action, along with the Senator’s example of selfless service, impacted so many of us.
Shortly after Hotel Tango opened, Hilary came to HVAF for the first time with a vision of hosting an event to benefit veterans in our community. As new entrepreneurs personally impacted by war and military service, Travis and Hilary wanted to start off their new business giving back to the most vulnerable veterans. So, in the fall of 2014, we hosted our first Operation Alpha. We chose that name as an homage to Travis’ service and HVAF’s mission to serve veterans. It meant, and still means, Operation Assistance.
The heart of everything we do at HVAF is to assist those who served our nation, those who sacrificed so much on our behalf. Last year, 1,265 veterans received life-changing, life-saving assistance at HVAF.
The first few years, the event was hosted at Hotel Tango’s tasting room in the Fletcher Place neighborhood of Indianapolis. We outgrew that space and moved to Tinker House Events on the near northside. With hard work and your support, we outgrew that space and for the last few years have called the Biltwell Event Center home.
It’s been incredible to be a part of an event that has grown and taken on a new role as the best Veterans Day party in the State (yes, I know we’re biased!). We plan a fun night with a special military-inspired Grog Bowl Ceremony to honor veterans and to recommit ourselves to ending veteran homelessness in our community. We believe that no hero should be homeless, and Operation Alpha gives an opportunity for our friends and supporters to join us on mission.
And, of course, there will be plenty of Hotel Tango spirits available. I am a self-declared brand ambassador for ‘Shmallow, Hotel Tango’s toasted marshmallow bourbon (it’s so, so good). Last year we had a special tasting of ‘Shmallow and I can’t wait to taste this year’s signature cocktail!
I’m so grateful to Travis and Hilary, and the Hotel Tango staff, for their commitment to HVAF and the work we’re doing in our community. It’s been an honor to grow this event alongside them, and we’re looking forward to many more years of partnership.
Tickets and sponsorships are still available!