Deploying into the Army National Guard
It was beautiful in Bellaire, MI this weekend, and not just because spring had finally arrived. Buddy-to-Buddy and other community partners got the chance to welcome home members of 147 AVN at a Yellow Ribbon event at the Shanty Creek Resort.

While several of you are attending drill on a regular basis, the 147 th is one of many units that does not currently have a B2B presence. In Ann Arbor, we have been working on strategies with ARNG leadership to expand our reach so that all Soldiers might have access to a Buddy. However, after this weekend, it seems we have more work to do to dispel a bit of misinformation that exists in the ARNG community:
BG Estrada and Kate
B2B doesn’t help Guardsmen anymore: WRONG! While our mission began with the ARNG, it has since expanded into Michigan communities at large, enabling us to reach Veterans of all branches, all eras. We have ADDED to our mission, not replaced it. We remain at the ready to support any and all National Guard Soldiers who need assistance.

B2B is only for Soldiers who have deployed: WRONG! The op tempo over the past two decades meant that there was a “new normal” for Guardsmen. They became accustomed to deploying, active duty-style, with Brigade-sized elements, in rapid succession and with minimal dwell time. Transition between deployments and civilian life was obvious during these times. 

However, transitions continue for our Guardsmen, even as the op tempo slows. Unlike their active duty counterparts, most Guardsmen have to balance military orders with both civilian employment and family obligations. Others have the additional challenge of going back to school. Transition stress is common and consistent in the National Guard. B2B Volunteers are essential in helping navigate during these times when no one expects stressors to persist.  

B2B is unwelcome in ARNG units: WRONG! Embedded B2B Volunteers and Ann Arbor staff are working tirelessly to reestablish relationships in units that have been underserved, and to educate new commanders on the importance of B2B supporting their soldiers. B2B supplements the good work the commanders, senior NCOs and ARNG programs are doing, and we can continue to support Soldiers as they transition to civilian life. 

The photo here was taken during a conversation with BG Estrada this past weekend. He gets it. I was happy to do most of the listening; he wanted to tell me he understands the importance of B2B Volunteers supporting his soldiers. He committed to working with his junior officers to help them understand that B2B is value-added, especially when they have issues they’re not comfortable discussing with their first-line supervisors. He understands that combat is not the only trigger for suicidal ideation among his troops. He encouraged us to keep spreading the word about the support we offer throughout uniformed service and beyond. 

What’s the bottom line? We are reinvigorating our role with ARNG Soldiers, and we are looking for Volunteers who want to serve in a unit assignment . There are armories around the state, and there is likely one only a short drive from your home. 

Call or e-mail the office to let us know you are interested. We will work with you on understanding requirements, working with your Platoon Sergeants to find a fitting assignment. Leadership will attend your first drill with you to ensure a smooth introduction. 

Thank you for considering service to those still in uniform through a unit assignment opportunity!

Kate Melcher
Program Manager
Coming Soon: New "From the Field" and "Featured Volunteer" Stories Series
Did you notice that we haven't sent out any "Volunteer of the Month" profiles recently? If so thank you for noticing! And if you are wondering why, it's because we are refreshing our series of profiles highlighting you, our volunteers, and the good work you do. We're splitting this series into two categories: "From the Field" and "Featured Volunteer."
The "From the Field" series will highlight instances of volunteers doing outstanding work to help fellow veterans. The "Featured Volunteer" profiles will be very similar to the "Volunteer of the Month" profiles. They will highlight both long serving and brand new volunteers and be focused on those volunteers' life stories.

We will be sending the first of these profiles out in the next month, so keep an eye out for it!
Month in Review | March 2018
March referrals:
Top interaction log submitters in March:

Steve Alguire - 21
Jon Luker - 12
Julia Treme - 11
Richie Roberts - 7

Most events attended and logged in March:

Bruce Binns - 4
John Snyder - 2
Fred Turk - 2
Carl Underhill - 2
Thank you for taking the time to submit your logs and using the website to communicate with us. These submissions are key in helping us continue to serve Michigan’s veterans.
This Month's Training Anniversaries
The following volunteers are celebrating their training anniversaries with the program this month: 

Eight Years!
Matt Newman

Five Years
Darcy Capitano

Four Years
John Snyder

One Year
Eduardo Calzada-Ortiz
Ryan Kenerson
Jereme Olson

Thank you for your service!
Congratulations, Kate!
Congratulations to our Program Manager, Kate Melcher, for being awarded the Michigan Fitness Foundation's "Veteran of the Year Award"! Kate was presented the award at a ceremony in Detroit last week (see below for picture). You can read more about the award here and watch Kate's Vet of the Year video here...
Farewell to Nathan Cross
Our Outreach Coordinator, Nate Cross, recently left Buddy-to-Buddy to pursue his degree and other interests. Please connect with our Social Worker, Adam Jando (734.998.5826 / ) or our Volunteer Coordinator, Jamie Majer (734.998.5825 / ) for any and all of your outreach needs and activities. We thank Nate for his contributions to the program both as a Volunteer and as Outreach Coordinator.
Schedule a Re-Training
Has it been a while since you went through our New Volunteer Training? Do you think you might benefit from going through training again? If so, contact us about attending an upcoming training. We would love to have you at one! We've recently overhauled our training content and we think that any and all volunteers who are interested in brushing up their skills will benefit from going through the new and updated training. Contact us to schedule a re-training...
Need Any New Program Supplies? Let Us Know!
If you are running low on program supplies, such as business cards, brochures, or other documents, please contact Jamie Majer at (734) 998-5825 or and the supplies will be ordered and sent to you as soon as possible.
Program Merchandise for Sale
Don't forget that we have men's and women's hoodies, vests, and long sleeve shirts for sale! Visit Ivy Promotion’s website to purchase B2B merchandise and support the program, as a percentage of sales goes directly toward program sustainment . If you’d like assistance placing your order, please call Jamie Majer here at B2B, (734) 998-5825, and she will complete the order form with you.
Interested in Representing Buddy-to-Buddy at an Event?
Would you like to represent Buddy-to-Buddy at a veteran-focused event in your community? Do you know of an event that you think someone from Buddy-to-Buddy should attend? If so, contact Adam Jando at or (734) 998-5826.
Buddy-to-Buddy Pics
Volunteers at the annual Volunteer Recognition on April 7 at the Yankee Air Museum in Belleville (more pictures from the event to come soon!)
Steve Alguire accepting a check from the Boardman River Chapter of the NWTF to Buddy-to-Buddy on the program's behalf
Mike Gillette at the MIARNG Yellow Ribbon Event for the 147 AVN
Volunteers and staff catching up after the Recognition Event
Kate Melcher receiving the Michigan Fitness Foundation's "Veteran of the Year" award at a ceremony in Detroit
Buddy-to-Buddy is part of Military Support Programs and Networks (M-SPAN), a portfolio of military mental health programs within the University of Michigan Depression Center.
Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Veteran Program
2025 Traverwood Dr., Suite C | Ann Arbor | MI | 48105