Predicted to be the “most ambitious fundraiser yet,” Operation Alpha lived up to the hype and provided a night full of memorable cocktails, delicious food, live music, auction bidding and much more.
For the past three years, HVAF of Indiana and Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery have teamed up to host Operation Alpha. Travis Barnes, a service-disabled Marine Corps veteran and co-owner of Hotel Tango, started the event at the distillery to help veterans in need.
The evening kicked off with guests arriving at The Tinker House Events to a bar stocked with Sun King Brewery beer, Monarch Beverage wine and Hotel Tango spirits, and tables of food filled with City BBQ, Jacquie’s Gourmet Catering and Black Plate Catering.
Senator Joe Donnelly was a special guest at this year’s event. He spoke with attendees about the importance of taking care of our homeless and at-risk veterans and their families. When speaking in front of everyone, Sen. Donnelly referenced Matthew 7:12, “do to others what you would have them do to you.”
“When you think about that, you’re doing God’s work,” Sen. Donnelly said, adding how HVAF’s mission follows this verse. “It’s a ministry of its own.”
The night continued with a silent and live auction, with guests walking away with Pacers tickets, a resort vacation, the opportunity to be a distiller and much, much more.
The highlight of the evening included HVAF CEO & President— and veteran— Brian Copes leading a one-of-a-kind Grog Bowl Ceremony. Brian honored our former and current service members by inviting veterans to participate in the making of the “grog,” a very special cocktail, while paying homage to our country’s military history and the service and sacrifices of our veterans.
HVAF’s cash goal for the night was $11,011, in honor of Veterans Day, 11/11. By the end of the
evening, guests donated a total of $18,220, making the grand total for Operation Alpha $32,000, doubling last year’s total.
“I continue to be surprised and humbled by the extraordinary generosity of people who share our passion for helping veterans in need,” Copes said. “A simple thank you falls short. We probably best express our appreciation by being good stewards of what we’re given.”
Hilary Barnes, co-owner of Hotel Tango, said the staff is “still beaming” from this year’s event.
“From the Tinker House venue, a visit from Senator Donnelly, to the music and the Grog Bowl
ceremony – it was such a moving and fun evening celebrating veterans,” Barnes said. “And above all, HVAF surpassed its fundraising goal! This year was the biggest Operation Alpha event yet, and we’re excited to start working on next year.”
To see all of the fun times from the evening, check out the full photo gallery from photographer Gabrielle Cheikh on our Facebook page.