Make your home page

Tickets available for Operation Alpha bash to benefit Hoosier veterans

Operation Alpha interview

Interview with founder of Operation Alpha and CEO of HVAF

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A party with a purpose marks its 10th edition tonight in Indianapolis. “Operation Alpha” pairs spirits and smiles with fundraising for Helping Veterans and Families of Indiana.

The event is the brainchild of Travis Barnes, a disabled U.S. Marine Corps veteran who founded Hotel Tango Distillery.

“After the events of 911, I dropped out of college and enlisted in the Marine Corps. I ended up doing three tours in Iraq, came back home, started this company and we wanted to find an organization, a partner that was both local and that helped veterans and these guys were a great fit,” Barnes told us during a conversation on Daybreak.

The night promises food beer, wine, and spirits — all with a local flair. Organizers say in addition to liquors from from Hotel Tango, there will be offerings from Upland Brewing, Sun King Brewing, and The Wine Group. The event also promises custom cigars, a whiskey pull, and a military-inspired Grog Bowl Ceremony.

“It’s basically taking a bunch of different things, liquors, liquors and putting it into one big punch bowl and then sharing it and remembering fallen guys and guys that aren’t here with us anymore,” says Barnes.

The money raised at the event benefits programs at HVAF Indiana, a nonprofit dedicated to housing, supporting, and advocating for veterans and their families. Operation Alpha is key to the organization’s efforts.

“It’s a major fundraiser. It’s our signature event,” explained Emmy Hildebrand, CEO of HVAF. “We provide housing assistance, employment services. We’ve recently added a full time therapist to address some mental health challenges and substance use. We’re trying to make sure that we can serve veterans in a way that they can live the lives that they deserve.”

“Operation Alpha” is far from a stuffy affair: the dress is casual and parking is free. If you’d like to attend, click here.