Our Mahool Potts American Legion Post 2 in Baltimore was named after James Edgar Potts, the first Maryland soldier KIA in WWI, and has recently undergone many renovations inside and out to be more involved in the great community of historic Hampden. BeTheOne is one of the best ideas we have seen in years other than the Buddy Check that we use on a regular basis. Some of our members had said that before that program they had not heard from our post in decades, so that was the beginning of a great transition for connecting to our members.
Our top priority is serving our local veterans and community by offering a welcome and inclusive post, not just a canteen. I am a brand-new veteran commander, only a Legion member for three years now, who grew up a few blocks from our post 2 and had no idea, even after my military experience, the importance of The American Legion.
It was only after taking the amazing online Legion Basic Training that I realized how important The American Legion is and continues to be to our country, so my wife and I have taken the last eight months to invest in restoring our post and community because it was in desperate need of repairs and now see the value of our Post 2 in the community.
During our transition, which continues, we learned how many older and younger veterans over the decades have been impacted by our post supporting issues like PTSD, depression and mental health, and other challenges.
One unique feature is our back yard, which used to be a haven for veterans returning from service - yes, over 100 years now - by supporting one another as an informal support group, hanging out, playing horseshoes, eating food and enjoying a cold beverage as a time of healing. As an honor to them, we are renovating our yard next spring with a water and garden feature to continue this critical need to our members.
This is where BeTheOne comes in perfect timing. Just a few months ago, before the national launch of BeTheOne, we had started a support group initially for PTSD and suicide prevention just for veterans to honor the tradition for over 100 years at our post.
After a couple of months, we quickly learned that this is bigger than our local veterans but also needed first responders in the community to have a safe place to talk and discuss their trauma and issues they face, so we opened it up to a wider audience.
This national program may not have a lot of direction - guessing that is on purpose, as we all have different needs, so we have currently adopted it at our Hampden Post 2 in Baltimore for everyone who has experienced trauma and related issues in this area. Our members face a lot of challenges in Baltimore, so we hope to grow and learn with them as we serve one another, knowing the most important step is just to show up!
For now, we are meeting once a month like a regular support group with plans to expand to multiple groups or whatever the need is to support our veterans. BTW, there are currently fire and police who are also veterans, so this is just another avenue to bring in people of all needs but stay focused on trauma and suicide prevention.
We are clear from the start we are new and have many resources from our local VA, hospitals, professional referrals, and I have personally run a support group for TBI for years and am trauma-trained, so this is something we take seriously and know we are not the professionals, simply offering a safe space to talk freely and find ways to learn from one another as we grow this wonderful program. We welcome any feedback or other lessons so feel free to contact us at email@example.com or 4102433828 or www.alpost2md.org.
We hope this helps you BeTheOne to make a difference in someone’s life knowing we are not alone!
American Legion Post 2