Thursday, February 29, 2024

Veteran Voices: Ten Questions with Daniel Janousek, ‘The Welcome Home’ Podcast

Daniel Janousek

HISTORIC TRIANGLE — “Ten Questions with” is a series that allows readers to get to know local business leaders, volunteers and community members in the Historic Triangle.

This week, meet Dan Janousek.

What is your job title and description?
Host and creator of “The Welcome Home Podcast.”

Who do you interact/work with on a regular basis?
For the podcast, veterans and their families, especially those who served in Vietnam.

For my day job, I work as an analyst for ITA International LLC, working on Ship Maintenance Projects with the U.S. Navy.

How do you/your organization interact with the local community?

Interviewing those veterans who wish to share their stories! Additionally, I am volunteering with the “Wall that Heals” hosted by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. The “Wall That Heals” is a traveling exhibit that is a 3/4 replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. The wall travels across the U.S., allowing Vietnam Veterans to view the memorial without having to travel to D.C.

This is more personal, but I do make a point to thank any veteran I meet, especially those who served in Korea/Vietnam. A simple “thank you for your service, and welcome home” has led to many great interactions with our local veterans. I understand that many of these men dealt with rude remarks and even were spit on when they returned home, so for me, as some 20-something-year-old welcoming them home is my way, I guess of saying sorry that they had to deal with that, and that there is another generation now who cares about their service.

Tommy Marshall, Welcome Home podcast’s first guest, and Dan Janousek. (Dan Janousek)

What is something about your job most people wouldn’t know about?

Something I didn’t realize was just how time-consuming editing a podcast is! However, I thoroughly enjoy the entire process … even if I do get sick of the sound of my own voice sometimes.

How do you define success?

That’s a great question, for me I’m not sure. I will say through this podcast I was welcomed into the home of a disabled Vietnam vet to interview, and we have been in contact ever since — whether weekly texts or sending each other memes on Facebook, I genuinely consider him a friend. Although that was not my intention when creating this podcast, our continued friendship does make me feel successful and that I’m doing the right thing. Additionally, I am a numbers guy, and our podcast is about to hit 100 downloads, which may not seem like a lot, but it does let me know that people are interested in these stories!

What is your most successful accomplishment to date?

I helped share the story of our neighbor’s late father. Thomas Sweeney, who was an aeromedical evacuation specialist in Vietnam. That was really special.

How long have you lived/worked in the Historic Triangle?

My family is from the area, however my father got out of the Army in 2005 and we moved back to Yorktown when I was 10 years old. Since then I have lived in Williamsburg for a few years but have been in the Tidewater area ever since.

What is your favorite part of being in the Historic Triangle?

This waterman’s community is so unique in so many ways; the combination of Revolutionary War and Civil War history, and the views of the James and York Rivers are some of my favorite parts.

What do you do for downtime/to relax?
I enjoy hiking, visiting museums, and playing music and writing songs with my younger brother for our band, “The Sidewalk Slammers.”

What is the next step in your journey?

Possibly incorporating video in addition to audio for our podcast, however, for the time being, sharing as many stories as possible of our forgotten generation, our Vietnam veterans, and giving them the proper “Welcome Home” they deserve!

You can listen to the Welcome Home Podcast on Apple podcasts and Spotify.

Do you want to learn more about your community and the people who live and work in the Historic Triangle? We are looking for people with interesting jobs, super volunteers, or community leaders to showcase. Reach out to let us know if you (or someone you know) would like to be considered for Ten Questions.

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