It was the most wonderful time of the year again for Post 101 of Somers, Conn., remarked Post 101 member Keith Miller. We were all engaged and excited about our most important biannual event of the year - checking on the health and welfare of post members and their families, added Post Historian Bill Hocking.
On November 20 and 23, 2019, Post 101 of Somers conducted its 2nd Buddy Check of 2019 to reach out to our membership to see how they were doing. Training was provided on both Buddy Check days by David McCaffrey and Sherri Marquis for 14 team members. The training consisted of a slideshow, 2 videos and some role playing to ensure all were comfortable making the calls.
A toolkit was provided with possible scripts for various situations (including upcoming post events). A team brainstorming session derived a novel way of recording calls' responses based on a legend of common call results, which provided consistency in evaluating action required.
Post 101’s 14 volunteers made 375 calls, and the results revealed various needs and actions which were reviewed by our Executive committee. Action has already been taken (hardship memberships given, medical equipment and clothing on its way to the needy, two Soldier, Sailor and Marine Corps financial relief cases initiated and medical transportation scheduled) and will continue until all our members' needs have been addressed, e.g. financial assistance, transportation, service officer aid and visitation.
Post 101 Commander Mike Craddy discovered that he got a lot more out of Buddy Checks than he expected.
"As a new commander, I found that conducting the Buddy Check allowed me the opportunity to know a little more about our membership and their families, how they are doing and what we as a post can do for our veterans," he stated.
"It allowed us to show to our membership that we care and that we are there for them. This program gave me the ability to get a more accurate accountability of our members' needs and adjust our agenda to meet those needs. I did not realize that several of our members had situations in their lives that required someone to listen, care or just feel that someone had their back," said Craddy.
With a sense of conviction, Craddy added, "Post 101 believes in The American Legion’s mission: “Veterans Taking Care of Veterans, and we will continue doing just that.”