I checked on a Buddy today.

Did you?

A year ago, on Aug. 22, 2015, a group of veterans started a Facebook movement called Buddy Check 22. The goal is for someone to contact a veteran on the 22nd of every month, just to let them know you are thinking of them, and to make sure they are ok.

The stark statistic that inspired the movement is this: 22 veterans commit suicide each day.

Participating is simple; just remember each month, on the 22nd (it’s easy for me, this month — today’s our 29th wedding anniversar7) call, stop by, email, message, or otherwise get in touch with a buddy you know who may still be feeling the effects of what he experienced or saw.

Virtually all of us know someone who has been profoundly impacted by the mental and emotional challenges facing veterans returning from war. Virtually all of us can do something, or say something, to show we care.

One of the co-founders of one Buddy Check 22 campaign, 22 No More, is a childhood friend of our own children.

“We are raising awareness of the veterans who commit suicide every day,” says Lain Slife III of Independence.

“The whole buddy check thing is pretty simple,” says Slife, an Army veteran who served in Iraq in 2007-2008 with the 603rd Military Police Company. “If you have any military brothers or sisters, or know of any vets that have PTSD or just issues in general, give them a call and chat for a few minutes, shoot ’em a text or message on Facebook maybe. Just check in with them to see how they are doing, if they need to talk,etc.”
There are many small Buddy Check 22 groups as well as a National organization. Former Marine Zach Ziegel of Washington, Ill., is one of the leaders the national group that now has more than 5 million Facebook followers.

“Maybe in a few months or next year, it can be Buddy Check 21, and then hopefully, soon after, it’s Buddy Check 0. Then we will only be calling them because it is what’s working. Twenty-two to zero is what we are looking for,” former marine Ziegel told KSHB Channel 4 of Kansas City last Aug. 22.

Ziegel started the Buddy Check 22 page as an event, after one of his Marine Corps comrades committed suicide. The page grew too large for “event” status, so it became a permanent group on the social media site.

“Well, without getting too personal, I’ve received messages on my own account, as well as the Buddy Check account of people saying they were on the verge of suicide before someone called them because of BUDDY CHECK 22,” Ziegel told me today. “Also, people have reported how they’ve assisted distraught veterans through the program. People have posted on the site about needing help for themselves, or veterans they know, and it reached the right people to go out and help.”

Here’s a link to that Buddy 2 Facebook page.

To see a video created by Slife’s 22 No More page, click HERE.