The buddy behind the buddy check: The American Legion National Commander addresses Congress March 4 for first virtual Washington Conference addressing setbacks from COVID-19

American Legion National Commander James W. “Bill” Oxford tackles the rough road ahead advocating for veterans March 4 before Congress.

National Commander Oxford’s Buddy Checks offered veterans assistance facing the impact of COVID-19 shutdowns. Service Officers helped Posts assemble buddy checks with Legionnaires by relaying information from the County Veteran Service Office. The American Legion faced virtual challenges to address items like better access to rural broadband, to improve how veterans connect virtually with Veterans Administration providers, the dire need to recognize improving women’s health care and to urge Congress to take action to face the aftermath starting with the American Legion National Commander’s address.

The American Legion started connecting with veterans by reaching out through Buddy Checks introduced in 2019. Oxford seeks to incorporate one week per year to engage with the Veterans Administration to recognize veterans who need extra help through his proposed “Buddy Check Bill of 2021.” The American Legion, the oldest veteran organization, opened its doors to assist homeless veterans with access to Legion halls, which offered refuge when the pandemic began.