Texas post’s Buddy Checks geared toward wellness checks … and more
(Post 100 Facebook photos)

Texas post’s Buddy Checks geared toward wellness checks … and more

Chartered in 2017, Laramore-Osborne American Legion Post 100 in Royse City, Texas, has become a valued member of its community. The post of around 80 members has engaged in the Boys State program, provided assistance to area homeless veterans, hosted events honoring Vietnam War veterans and volunteered at a local assisted living facility.

But the post also recognizes the importance of taking care of its own, which is why early on its members began a Buddy Check program. Initially quarterly, the Buddy Checks now occur bimonthly and are an opportunity to both check on current and former members, as well as to let the membership know what is going on at the post.

“I’ve been doing this now three years as the chairman, and I’ve never had a negative result: ‘Please don’t call me,’” said Post 100 First Vice Commander Jim Watson, who chairs the post’s Buddy Check Committee. “Most of the membership are grateful that we’re calling them. We’ve actually had some members call us back and say, ‘I got your message. Thanks.’

“Buddy Checks have been important to our post, particularly because of having a lot of members who are aging. I think every month that’s been sick or hospital-ridden, something like that. But not only that, we’ll find members that maybe need help in building a fence.”

The post conducts a regular monthly Buddy Check on its members following guidance provided by the Buddy Check Toolkit made available through National Headquarters. When time allows, Buddy Check Committee members also will call former members to encourage them to rejoin the post, asking why they’d dropped out of the post.

A second Buddy Check session involves the post’s officers cadre and is focused on updates of what the post is involved with, where committee participation is needed and other items “just to keep the officers in front of our members,” Watson said. “A lot of people don’t read their email and that type of stuff, so it gives us an opportunity to say, ‘Hey, we’re having a registration drive in front of Walmart on March 4. We’d love to have you participate in that.’ That type of stuff. And we are getting more and more younger veterans as we promote our programs.”

The post initially made its Buddy Check calls on Fridays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. but moved them to Mondays because they had a better answer rate. “We were getting a lot of voicemails,” Watson said. “Going to a Monday night we’re getting more participation and actually getting to talk to somebody. I would say our participation has increased probably 40 percent by going to a Monday night.”

Included on the post’s Buddy Check Committee are both the post service officer and chaplain. That’s by design.

“If we find somebody who’s in dire straits or needs to talk to someone, maybe with a claim problem or maybe a problem where they would need the chaplain, I have that person right here with me that evening,” Watson said. “We can get them immediate help. That’s one thing that I think is very important.”

The post also plans to make the Legion’s Be the One suicide prevention program be a part of its Buddy Checks. Watson said he and other members want to take part in the Be the One online training being offer by the Legion and Columbia University.

“Suicide awareness … is probably our top program within the post,” Watson said. “We’re working on getting people more trained in that area … where we can become more aware when we’re talking to a person, seeing signs of that, and bring our Buddy Checks along our suicide awareness program as well.”