The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) kicks off its first National Buddy Check Week today and it will run through Oct. 20. The American Legion, which began its own Buddy Check program in 2019, is teaming with VA for a webinar starting at 1 p.m. Eastern Oct. 16 to highlight the importance of making connections during the week. (Join the webinar here.)
In those four years, more than 4,400 American Legion posts have reached out to over 1 million veterans for Buddy Checks.
“Buddy Checks are not membership or fundraising calls; they are simple check-ins with veterans in the community to see how they are doing and to learn if the local post can help with anything,” American Legion Past National Commander Dave Rehbein said in a new video.
VA is asking for all veterans to make a pledge to contact up to 10 of their battle buddies and friends from service, as well as complete peer wellness, resiliency and S.A.V.E. suicide prevention training.
For American Legion Family members conducting Buddy Checks next week, around Veterans Day and at any time, resources include:
• Buddy Check Toolkit that explains the program, provides steps to conducting a successful Buddy Check, gives sample scripts and more.
• Buddy Check doorhanger that is printer-friendly and can be customized as a leave-behind when Legion Family members visit a veteran who is not a home.
And if your post, district or department is planning a Buddy Check event, please remember to share your stories and photos from the event in the Buddy Check section of Legiontown.