Back in the pre-pandemic days (prior to March 2020), I decided to visit our local nursing home and identify any veterans enrolled there. With the push for Buddy Checks, I thought veterans in residence were unaware of this program. Upon entering I was presently surprised that the nursing home displayed a honor roll of veterans residing there. Three of the 14 were restricted, thus I logged each veteran and room number and "walked the halls."
Donned in my American Legion uniform, with copies of our Lake City Post 110 newsletter, copies of VA and Legion materials, and membership forms, I proceeded to visit each veteran. I spent an average of 10-22 minutes with each veteran. Many were surprised seeing a person in an uniform; they said, "I am not ready to go!" Smiling, I introduced myself and informed them that my purpose of the visit was that I was participating in the Legion Buddy Check program. I wanted to know how they were doing. Do they need anything. Any issues? I inquired as to how many visitors, including family members, they receive, and a few said I was the first person who visited in over two months.
We then chatted about their military service, deployments and talked about their military experiences. Near the end I inquired as if they belong to the Legion. All said no, I then discussed what being a Legion member provided in publications and information. I asked if they would join our Post 110; many were hesitant, because of financial issues, and then I offered to pay their first-year dues. I signed up six new members.
I also belong to the Rochester, Minn., DAV Mayo SE Chapter #28 and informed them what I was doing. They invited me to participate with them on their visit program, and with my visits would I also drop off DAV care packages to each veteran. I was more than happy to do this, but then the pandemic hit, and I am now waiting for the homes to reopen to outside visitors. When I left their room, each asked me, will I return? And as a veteran, I indicated "a veteran never leaves a veteran behind", I will see you soon.
Lake City Post 110