The American Legion’s Buddy Check program was launched in March 2019 as an initiative to urge local American Legion posts to contact veterans in their communities to see how they are doing and if they needed any help. To date, thousands of Buddy Checks have been conducted that have assisted veterans, members or not, with needs ranging from grocery shopping, medicine pickup, household chores to just having a voice that listens and cares.
American Legion Resolution No. 18 calls for Buddy Checks to be conducted twice a year – Legion birthday (March 15-17) and Veterans Day (Nov. 11) – but posts are encouraged to conduct them throughout the year, which many do. The Buddy Check program gives Legionnaires the tools to make contact, engage in conversation, assess risks and direct veterans in need to the appropriate services.
A few years ago, The American Legion worked with Congress to implement a National Buddy Check Week by VA to reach out to veterans to identify their needs and provide support. That week will be Oct. 16-20. In preparation for this and Buddy Checks the week of Veterans Day, The American Legion has the following Buddy Check resources to assist you:
- A Buddy Check Toolkit that explains the program, provides steps to conducting a successful Buddy Check, gives sample scripts and more.
- Tools on how to organize a Buddy Check, send press releases and more.
- A 6-minute video that provides useful tips for posts planning to do Buddy Check from 2019 National Legion College graduate and Maryland Legionnaire John Kilgallon whose daughter, Mary, helped him create a how-to Buddy Check message with a white board as part of his Legion College homework.
“Buddy Checks are making significant impact on veterans and families who need our help and immediate assistance,” said National Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Chairman Autrey James. “The resources available help our Legionnaires reach out to fellow veterans who may be isolated, feeling down, or need assistance a service officer assistance to file a VA benefits claim. With Buddy Checks, our goal is to make sure our brothers and sisters are doing OK and if there is any assistance that we, The American Legion, can provide them.”
Don’t forget to let us know about your successful Buddy Check by sharing your story on our Legiontown webpage.