ABOUT THE BUDDY CHECK PROGRAM
The Buddy Check program was launched in March 2019 as a “comradeship campaign” to encourage posts to reach out to veterans in their areas – members, former members and others – to see what The American Legion could do for them.
The program was successful in its first year and potentially life-saving in 2020, through the COVID-19 pandemic and as winter months drew near, affecting the mental health and well-being of isolated veterans.
American Legion posts throughout the country have assembled, and are assembling, Buddy Check teams to safely contact local veterans and their families by phone, email, text message and personal visits to see what help they may need.
Three toolkits are available for posts developing their Buddy Check programs. The original kit provides basic guidance about how to contact local veterans and let them know The American Legion is there for them. A second toolkit focuses on Buddy Checks to help veterans through the COVID-19 pandemic. The most recent toolkit emphasizes the importance of mental health, well-being and suicide prevention.
BUDDY CHECK TOOLS FOR LEGIONNAIRES
Buddy Checks to Help with Well-Being
This version of The American Legion Buddy Check toolkit emphasizes the importance of recognizing mental health and well-being concerns among veterans. Organizational guidance, agency support resources and draft scripts are provided for Buddy Check teams.
How to Perform a Buddy Check During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Provides guidance and scripts for American Legion Buddy Check teams to use when calling on veterans who may need help specific to the pandemic, such as food, medicine or just a friendly voice on the line to help them get through the isolation.
Original Event Toolkit
Provides guidance about how to form a Buddy Check team, use myLegion.org to gather contacts of members and former members and offers scripts to ask veterans how The American Legion can help them.
How to get organized and use myLegion.org
The national membership database housed on myLegion.org provides contact information, indexed by Zip Code, that can be used to conduct Buddy Checks. Steps about how to organize team and use myLegion.org to find and contact veterans can be found here:
FAQs About The American Legion
A succinct statement of basic answers to frequently asked questions about The American Legion also provides space for Buddy Check teams to modify with department and local programs and services.
BUDDY CHECK WEEK LEGISLATION
On Sept. 23, 2020, U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, introduced a National Buddy Check Week bill in the Senate, mirroring legislation introduced in May 2019 in the House. The American Legion Legislative Division sent action alerts to members urging they contact their congressional representatives to support the measures, and American Legion National Commander James W. “Bill” Oxford delivered a video message to the membership urging them to promote the bipartisan legislation.