As The American Legion’s Tango Alpha Lima podcast marks its first anniversary this week, the co-hosts welcome Navy veteran Melissa Washington, CEO and founder of the Women Veterans Alliance.
A member of The American Legion Department of California, Washington is a disabled veteran, small business owner, speaker, entrepreneur and author connecting women veterans across the nation.
On this week’s episode, Washington explains how her organization grew from a small monthly group meeting.
“I didn’t realize the need in the community for women who wanted something like this,” she explained. “Now we are a national organization. Bottom line is, we are connecting women with resources and with each other. We give women an environment to ask another woman veteran for help whether it’s starting a business, getting resources of getting our veterans connected with their benefits.”
Washington also discussed the problem of how some women veterans don’t realize they qualify for certain benefits or identify themselves as veterans. Once they clear those hurdles, “it can transform their lives, connect them to benefits for their disability. It should be easier for us to get access to benefits. They don’t just automatically give them to you.”
To mark the podcast’s first anniversary on April 1, we asked the hosts to name their favorite episodes of nearly 50 recorded and published.
• Mark Seavey, Episode 45: The American Legion birthday with guest Jeff Stoffer
“Having worked for the Legion for almost 25 years is always amazing to me how many stories there are about the Legion, and people just don’t know them as well as they ought to. The story of The American Legion is really the story of America, from social, political, economic and military perspectives.”
• Jeff Daly, Episode 9: Race and Law Enforcement
“The most memorable and impactful episode for me was the two-part episode on law enforcement and race. I don't just say that because the subject matter is impactful to me. This was an episode where we took on the technical challenges of having three guests and it was worth it because each one of them brought immeasurable value to the conversation. Autrey James, Hugh Crooks and Sean Powers each contributed in such a way that I can't imagine the episode without each of them. Most important to me was the fact that we had this conversation at all. This was a landmark episode to me, because it defined a role for the podcast — to take on issues as the catalyst of conversation encouraging the exchange of ideas and to do it with civil discourse and impassioned logic for the good of the Legion.”
“Why a tie? I am an advocate for education and mental health. These topics and interviews exposed many thoughts, views, opinions and how we perceive the transition. Knowingly or unknowingly, both the transition into education and self-awareness of trauma profoundly influence you and subconsciously guide you to perceive life in a particular way. If you are a veteran seeking an enlightening conversation from boots to books or trauma to triumph, then these two episodes are must-listens.”
Each episode of Tango Alpha Lima is released by 9 a.m. Eastern each Tuesday. To make sure you get access to each episode when published subscribe via iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and other podcast-hosting sites. You can also subscribe to the Tango Alpha Lima newsletter, which contains links to new episodes. Subscribe here: legion.org/tangoalphalima.