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Reserve Sailors Support Fellow Sailors Through Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Veteran Program

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SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. (NNS) -- Reserve Sailors assigned to Navy Operational Support Center Detroit at Selfridge Air National Guard Base provide support to fellow Sailors through the Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Veteran program, which is designed to help Michigan Post-9/11 service members and veterans deal with the challenges they may face when adjusting to civilian life.
The peer-to-peer outreach program has been a part of NOSC Detroit for 15 months and uses volunteer veterans as liaisons to assist Sailors in finding resources for a variety of readjustment issues such as financial problems, benefits, educational goals, emotional challenges, and substance abuse, legal, medical or employment issues.
"As a Buddy-to-Buddy representative, my responsibility to the Sailors of NOSC Detroit is to provide support and outline available resources regarding a problem or dilemma a service member is experiencing," said Joe McClellan, Buddy-to-Buddy veteran representative, NOSC Detroit.
"I think it's absolutely amazing that he uses his off time to help Sailors," said Senior Chief Yeoman (AW) Amy Kelly, command senior chief, NOSC Detroit. "I'm extremely grateful and I couldn't do my job without him."
The objective of the Buddy-to-Buddy program is to train Michigan vets to engage with other veterans, by providing support and assistance in connecting resources. The primary goal is to intervene early, before concerns or stressors escalate into crises.
"If you recognize you have an issue or need assistance, be proud you're taking the initiative to find a solution," said McClellan.
The Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Veteran program was developed by the Michigan Army National Guard, veterans, veteran advocates, and healthcare professionals from the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.
"Veterans care and want to help because they're grateful for what the service members are doing," said McClellan, who's also an Army veteran and adjutant officer for Michigan's American Legion 18th District. "It's important for service members to understand there are hundreds of organizations [that] exist to help them."
McClellan has been a saving grace to the command, said Kelly.
"It's a comfort to know he's here every drill weekend to provide personal and professional assistance in guiding Sailors in the right direction to get the help they need."
Michigan's Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Veteran program is comprised of 125 trained and active veteran volunteers working in 39 Michigan Army National Guard armories, and with other organizations who also network to ensure service members are guided in the right direction to receive necessary support.
"Our volunteers have assisted more than 1,400 Michigan veterans and service members over the past four years," said McClellan. "Our volunteers have spent more than 2,500 hours at drill visits and events. We currently serve veterans, service members and their families in Michigan."
"It's a wonderful feeling, on a personal level, to help people, and seeing and helping veterans is really rewarding," said McClellan. "I believe it's important to encourage people to be the best that they can be. You've [veterans] served your country, you deserve to receive assistance."
Anyone can call the Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Veteran Program to seek assistance, make a referral, or to inquire further; however, they are only able to offer resources to military service members, veterans, and their families in Michigan.
For more information on the Buddy-to-Buddy program, contact a command representative or call the program's hotline number, 1-888-82-8339 or via email at buddytobuddyVVP@umich.edu.
For more news from Commander, Navy Reserve Force, visit www.navy.mil/local/nrf/.

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