As American Legion posts prepare to conduct Buddy Checks during the week of Veterans Day, it’s also important to remember that we should be checking on our fellow brothers and sisters 52 weeks a year.
In the inaugural Buddy Checks last March, Legionnaires found many veterans who needed assistance. Post 101 in Connecticut learned of members who were in poor health, needed assistance with VA benefits, and wanted to attend meetings but had no means of transportation. Some of these members were home bound, lonely and could use a visit for camaraderie. These members learned about many needs of their members by making phone calls for one week. Imagine the many ways all of us can learn about how to help our fellow veteran in need, especially as the holidays approach, by making calls weekly.
By reaching out to our fellow veterans, we can share about the many American Legion programs that can provide assistance to them and their family. Whether that’s The American Legion’s Temporary Financial Assistance program if they have young children in the home and are facing a financial hardship; Operation Comfort Warrior program to aide wounded veterans with recovery; Legion service officer assistance to help with VA claims and benefits; or youth scholarship and programs.
The list goes on with the beneficial ways The American Legion can provide support. But if we don’t make phone calls or home visits, those members who have let their membership lapse or who don’t attend post meetings or events will never know what The American Legion can offer. And you will not know if they are in need.
And for those who conduct a post or district revitalization, these too can serve as a Buddy Check because you are making phone calls to former, expired or headquarters post members, as well as going door-to-door to bring back expired members. These phone calls and door-to-door visits is a way you are checking on your fellow veteran.
For Department of Arizona Commander Ken Queen, that’s what the department’s recent revitalization effort was able to accomplish. In addition to transferring more than 160 headquarters post members into local American Legion posts, the effort also provided an opportunity to check on current and former members.
“It says to them that we care about them as individuals, not just as members,” said Queen, a former department membership director. “It’s a good thing to share that feeling with them. They deserve our support in any way we can give it to them. It’s almost like a Buddy Check – just reaching out to them to see how they’re doing.
“Calling them like this … is a good opportunity for us to reach out and touch them and see what they’re concerns are and help them out.”
For more information on how to conduct a post or district revitalization, visit www.legion.org/membership.
With the holiday season upon us, it’s easy to find ourselves busy. So I challenge you to continue Buddy Checks in the weeks beyond this Veterans Day and call on members in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas to hear what needs they may have.
Share your results by uploading your successes on the Legiontown website at visit www.legiontown.org.