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Odell ‘21 Highlights Service, Baseball with ‘American Valor’ Podcast

galen odell interviews mike blankers on zoom
Galen Odell ’21 interviewing retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Mike Blankers, Naval liaison to the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award Foundation and a systems and procedures analyst for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

By Molly Loughman

Galen Odell ‘21 is bridging the airwaves between the world of baseball and American military personnel through his production of the American Valor podcast under the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award Foundation. 

Bob Feller in Navy uniform with baseball teammates

The Foundation honors those who serve and teach younger generations about the qualities of citizenship, service, and sacrifice to America, in memory of Bob Feller (1918-2010), who became the first Major League Baseball player who enlisted to serve in World War II. The MLB pitcher/Hall of Famer with the Cleveland Indians enlisted in the Navy the day after the Pearl Harbor attack and eventually became U.S.Navy Chief Petty Officer.

Last summer, Odell, a Communication Studies major minoring in Leadership and Management, became a three-star fellow under the foundation, serving on three committees: the Military and Veteran Relations Committee (MVRC), the American Valor podcast team, and the Media & Marketing Committee (MMC). While serving on both the MVRC and the MMC, Odell supports committee leaders on programs to honor service members and promote the legacy of Bob Feller and other Baseball Hall of Famers who are veterans of World War II to younger generations. 

For the podcast, Odell serves as a member of this intern-run, bimonthly podcast featuring active duty military personnel, veterans, MLB players, and Hall of Famers on their storied careers and what valor means to them. “Our primary target audience are baseball fans and veterans, but we have recently been taking steps to expand our audience by reaching out to younger generations,” says Odell. 

How did you get an internship with the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award Foundation? And where is this internship, or is it remote?

galen o'dell with randy johnson
Galen Odell ’21 with Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson, who was the Hall of Fame recipient for the 2019 Act of Valor Award.

In the summer of 2019, my family and I visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, during Hall of Fame Weekend. When reading the event program, I saw that there was a seminar discussing baseball’s connections to the U.S. military, so I decided to check it out.

Coincidentally, choosing to attend the seminar provided me the opportunity to meet Peter Fertig, the founder and president of the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award Foundation….Following the event in Cooperstown, I stayed in touch with Peter and eventually became an intern for the Foundation in August of 2019. 

Since we have members all over the country, this internship is remote, so we do most of our work via computer or conference calls, but sometimes we all get together in person during events like the Foundation’s Annual Award Ceremony at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.          

How did you get involved in the American Valor podcast?

When I first met Peter in Cooperstown, he introduced me to Nathaniel Cameron, a Foundation intern. As Nathaniel and I were conversing, he talked about a podcast he does with other interns on the Foundation’s behalf called the American Valor podcast. After sharing my experience with podcasting at Emerson, he and I both thought it would be great if I were to intern with the Foundation and become involved with the podcast team.

What’s your role in the podcast? And what are you currently working on?

Galen Odell '21 at laptop
Galen Odell ’21 getting ready for a podcast interview.

My role in the podcast is to help plan the production by contributing content, conducting research on guests, and developing interview questions. Furthermore, I edit audio quality of episodes utilizing Audacity and GarageBand editing software. I have also assisted with interviewing guests and have conducted my own interviews as well.

What are you learning in this experience?

Through this experience, I have learned how the Foundation’s work of establishing connections between baseball and the military are a prime representation of civic engagement. Our annual award ceremony at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. brings military personnel, baseball officials, and baseball fans together to recognize the award recipients. Yet at the same time, it also allows for bridges to be built among these groups. 

Furthermore, I have learned through my experience with [American Valor] that running a podcast is not easy. Not only do you need to have interviews lined up and be able to produce them, but you also have to keep the podcast’s mission in mind while developing and editing content. At the end of the day though, hard work pays off, as evidenced by the fact that we made DODReads’ list of the top 10 military podcasts of 2020.

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