Tango Alpha Lima and SVA buddy up

The American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast hung out this past weekend with participants at the Student Veterans of America (SVA) 14th annual national conference.

Podcast co-hosts Jeff Daly and Ashley Gorbulja-Maldonado updated attendees on American Legion initiatives, including the podcast, and even brought some special guests into the rarified air with them. This week’s podcast features interviews with SVA conference attendees, including SVA President and CEO Jared Lyon.

Among the highlights:

• Lyon, who was a guest on Episode 35, stopped by the Tango Alpha Lima booth to talk about the challenges of hosting a large-scale event during a pandemic. “I got a lot of inspiration from you guys,” he said, noting that he attended the 2021 American Legion national convention in Phoenix. “This is a response to our chapter leaders from all over the United States. Safety is going to be at the forefront of everything that we do. We felt an obligation to our chapter leaders all over the United States that if we could figure out a way to do this safely, we would.”

Additionally, Lyon pointed out the influence of The American Legion, which helped give SVA its start. “The Legion and its posts are massively impactful in their local communities, just like university campuses,” he said. “And there are student veterans here who have their financial support to come to the conference from their local Legion posts.”

• Fatima Jaghoori, a Kansas State University student and SVA Student of the Year finalist, who is actively involved with an American Legion post in Manhattan, Kan., shared how the post and chapter are working together on helping Afghanistan allies resettle in America. “We’re trying to take the pressure off the bigger cities like Wichita and integrate Afghanistan refugees into our small community. It’s been really amazing to work with The American Legion in all aspects.” She also talked about some joint efforts the post and chapter have worked on such as a graduation party and Veterans Day event.

• Michael Hoherchak of the Travis Manion Foundation, explained the national foundation’s role in supporting and building up youth groups on the community level. Hoherchak said that the group is looking to work with other service groups like The American Legion to perform community service projects.

• Tamika Brown, a technician with the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress, discussed the organization’s efforts to collect and preserve the oral histories of veterans. She explained how veterans can participate either by visiting the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., or by submitting their story remotely. To learn more about the project, visit the website.

Also attending the SVA conference were students who credited The American Legion with helping them on their journeys.

Kathryn Dobbs recently graduated from Bowling Green State University where she led the SVA chapter. She credits the SVA-Legion relationship for her decision to join The American Legion. “It is because of my experience with the SVA and my work partnering with the Legion that I now have my job at Student Veterans of America HQ.”

Jonathon White, public affairs officer at the SVA chapter at the University of Mississippi, expressed his gratitude to The American Legion, including Veterans Education and Employment Division Director Joe Sharpe.

“He showed me a lot about advocating for veterans,” White said. “And I want to give a big shout out to Post 55 in Oxford, Miss.”

Watch the episode on YouTube here or listen here

Now in Season Three, there are more than 100 Tango Alpha Lima podcasts available at this web page. You can also download them on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or other major podcast-hosting sites. You can also view all of the episodes on the Legion’s YouTube channel.