American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad called on posts, districts, counties and departments to coordinate a team and call Legionnaires and former members simply to see how they are doing. The week leading up the Legion’s 100th birthday, March 11-16, is a perfect time to make the calls, but posts that have made other plans to celebrate the centennial at that time can choose another week in the centennial month if necessary.
Reistad said for Legionnaires to ask “if there is anything The American Legion can do for them. This is not a membership campaign. It’s a comradeship campaign.
"They may just need to know that someone cares."
Legionnaires who have already been making Buddy Checks found that The American Legion's assistance is needed.
The Department of Colorado sent out an email to everyone in the headquarters post through the website Mailchimp. The email message delivered asked how the member was doing and thanked them for their service and membership. The department was even able to customize each email to feature the members war era and the number of membership years in the Legion when showing appreciation for their service and membership.
One headquarters post member responded needing assistance with paying utilities. The Department of Colorado financially assisted the veteran through two department assistance funds and transferred his membership to a post near his home. The department also heard from a 93-year-old World War II veteran who just wanted to share his story, and another member replied simply thanking the department for checking in.
District 22 in San Diego, Calif., found veterans in need of food, transportation, pet therapy visits or just home visits all by making phone calls to hundreds of their members.
“Buddy Check is about seeing how veterans are doing. To discover that, it takes personal engagement," Reistad said.
A Buddy Check toolkit, including scripts for Legionnaires to use when making personal contact, is available online at www.legion.org/membership/buddycheck.