A point of connection for veterans 

This week, The American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast welcomes Michelle Lang, a military spouse and founder of Veteran Help Point, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to connect veterans and their families to local help and resources.

Lang understands the criticalness of finding resources, especially when transitioning out of the military.

After her husband, Chris, transitioned out of the Army in 2019, they moved back home to Pennsylvania where they had a support system, and he had a civilian job. Things were fine until they weren’t.

“I soon realized that him and I were living in two totally different realities,” Lang said. Chris was grieving his time in service, and “we did not have a word for that. I just knew that I was losing him. I knew we were either going to get divorced or my biggest fear was coming home and finding him unresponsive.”

Lang tried to find Chris help, but she came to a roadblock when finding a therapist who could relate to a veteran. It wasn’t until “I reached out to his buddies that they were able to get him back on track, we were able to go to therapy together and kind of move on.”  

As a result of not being able to find the right mental health resources for Chris and her family that were needed during a critical time, Lang launched Veteran Help Point. Veteran Help Point has an interactive map to help veterans, active duty servicemembers and their spouses find local and virtual mental health resources, employment opportunities and more. And veterans can connect with other veterans in their area to meet up for camaraderie.

Veteran Help Point also focuses on rural veterans and educating rural communities on how to better support veterans.

In sharing her story, Lang soon learned that many military families experience the same difficulties to finding resources when transitioning out of military service. “It’s such a common experience,” Lang said, and that’s why she is also trying to empower the spouse through Veteran Help Point. “Whenever you transition, it is a family process, and the family needs to be involved. Knowing as a spouse that you have a choice. You can be a part of this transition process. You can be helping with the resources. Just knowing that you can make a difference.”

Veteran Help Point is making a difference.

A female servicemember reached out to Veteran Help Point for support, and Lang connected her with a mental health specialist. The specialist told Lang , “’I just want to let you know that what you’re doing is very, very good and I know you don’t see the finished product often but I’m here to let you know that she would not be where she is if you had not helped her along the way.’ So often people just need a cheerleader. They just need someone to encourage them and say, ‘You can, you have the strength to go get help.’” 

Additionally, co-hosts Ashley Gutermuth and Stacy Pearsall discuss:

• The “brain, brawn and beauty” of U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Madison Marsh, the first active-duty servicemember to compete in and win the Miss America competition. 

• The Foo Fighters – not the popular rock band – were World War II bomber pilots who reported UFOs over Germany. Pearsall reported UFOs until her husband and neighbors convinced her otherwise.

• A U.S. Navy destroyer will be named after World War II hero Charles French, a Black cook who served on the USS Gregory when it was destroyed during the Battle of Guadalcanal. He gathered 15 injured servicemembers in a raft, then swam for hours in the ocean while towing the raft to safety. 

Check out this week’s episode, which is among more than 220 Tango Alpha Lima podcasts available in both audio and video formats here. You can also download episodes on Apple Podcasts, Google Play or other major podcast-hosting sites. The video version is available at the Legion’s YouTube channel.