Thank You for a Wonderful 2015
Dear Volunteer Veterans,

We are happy to announce that our newsletter is back and better than ever! You can expect to receive this revamped newsletter, now electronic, every month. As we transition to this new format, we welcome any feedback, good or bad. Send us an email and  let us know what you think !
Stephanie Zarb, Buddy-to-Buddy Program Manager
As active participants in Buddy-to-Buddy's mission, you know that the past year was one of exciting growth, new initiatives, and expanding partnerships. Here are a few highlights from 2015 and things to look forward to in 2016:

  • We helped 756 veterans, more than any previous year! 
  • We now have 130 trained Veteran Volunteers, the largest group of active volunteers ever.  
  • We held more Buddy 1 trainings than in previous years and hope to build on this momentum in 2016. 
  • On Veteran's Day, a team of Volunteer Veterans and Program Staff manned a phone bank at WDIV Local 4 News in Detroit, receiving over 100 calls in 150 minutes. This was a banner day for Buddy-to-Buddy and we hope you'll take a look at the infographic below detailing it. 
  • We had guests from SOCOM (Special Operations Command) attend several new volunteer trainings throughout the year. In November, eight representatives from various SOCOM units attended a 2-day training we conducted as they work to move toward implementing a peer support program. 
  • We welcomed Alyssa Wealty as our new Communications Specialist, in charge of public relations, social media, and publications for Buddy-to-Buddy and M-SPAN's other programs. 


  • We restructured the program's staff and hired a new Outreach Coordinator, Valeria Shipp (you can learn more about Valeria below).
  • SOCOM invited our training team to Tampa to train their peer network coordinators from around the world on the Buddy-to-Buddy model. The training was very well-received and highlights how the wonderful work you do everyday continues to impress.
  • We will host our annual Volunteer Recognition Event at The University Club on the Michigan State University campus in Lansing on April 30. You should have received a save-the-date email for this event earlier this week. 
  • We will be working more closely with VCATs (Veterans Community Action Teams) to help them handle some of their more complex referrals using our Buddy-to-Buddy processes. This is in the very early planning phases.  

    We attribute everything the program was able to accomplish in 2015 to your tireless and intrepid work as Volunteer Veterans. We thank you for all the work you've done this past year and look forward to another outstanding year with you. 

    Stephanie Zarb, Buddy-to-Buddy Program Manager

    Meet Valeria Shipp, Our New Outreach Coordinator

    Please help us welcome Valeria Shipp, our new Outreach Coordinator. She oversees the identification and staffing of veteran-related community events, outreach activities, and recruiting of volunteers. Read more about Valeria...
    Valeria Shipp, Outreach Coordinator
    Welcome, New Volunteers!
    We welcomed the following volunteers to our team in 2015:

    January 2015: Mike Bachand, Lisa Wright
    February 2015: Scott Hamel, Lee Heronema, Martha Cavell, David MacIntosh, David Mix, Eric Hines, Mike Libbrecht
    May 2015: Aaron Hines, Peter Drake
    July 2015: Larry Hebert, Dee Harris, Joel O’Connell, Anthony Capitano
    October 2015: Grace Martin, Britney Maki, Alexandra Harwood, Rob Herbstreith, Keith Overby, Harry McCown
    November 2015: Brian Kerg
    December 2015: Richie Roberts, Dale Harris
    Our volunteers are the heart of what we do.
    Volunteer Veteran of the Month

    Jerry Otten was our Volunteer Veteran of the Month for January!  Jerry earned the trust of the soldiers he worked with at the Big  Rapids Armory and is now beginning to establish the same types of relationships with those in his units at the Howell Armory. Read more about Jerry...
    Jerry Otten, January 2016 Volunteer Veteran of the Month
    Top Log Submitters
    The top log submissions in 2015: 

    1. Joe McClellan – 331
    2. Phil Presnell – 298
    3. Alfonse VanHese – 174
    4. Mike Bachand – 119
    5. Lonny Bourque – 101
    6. Steve Alguire – 100
    7. Cliff Tholen 93
    8. Mark Lindke – 88
    9. Ron Springer – 77
    10. John Snyder – 72
    11. Bruce Binns – 59
    12. Fred Turk – 56
    Thanks for logging!
    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.
    Recap | Veterans Day Phone Bank at Local 4 in Detroit

    When Local 4 News in Detroit asked us to  organize an on-air phone bank for Veterans Day, we jumped on it. And oh how glad we are for the opportunity— because it was a resounding success—truly some of the busiest and most fruitful hours the program has ever experienced.

    If you're interested in seeing the breakdown of all of the calls we received, check out the full-page version of the infographic to the left or click here to view a larger version of it.

    Buddy-to-Buddy Pics
    Ron Springer on a motorcycle at Higgins Lake in 1967
    Volunteer Veteran Ron Springer at Higgins Lake in 1967. 
    Mike Palmer, Dee Harris, Mike Iwaniusz, and Eric Jackson manned the Veterans Day Phone Bank at WDIV Local 4. 
    B2B Resources Now Available on issuu
    Did you know that you can now access a collection of recent support call notes as well as our Resource Guide online? We are using issuu, an online publication tool, to display some of our most commonly referenced publications. You can check us out on issuu here and access a handy how-to guide here
    Recent Support Call Discussion & Speaker Notes

    You can access notes from our Support Calls and Guest Speakers from January below:

    Feel Good Video of the Month
    NBC News ran a heartwarming story about veteran David Pond being reunited with the Belgian Malinois military working dog he relied on while in combat in Afganistan.

    Now suffering from PTSD and TBI, Pond is once again relying on his buddy Pablo to help him get through challenging times. 

    View the video here.
    In the News

    Operation Injured Soldiers is opening Brave Hearts Estate in Pellston, a vacation spot for injured veterans and their families.

    A new state law in Michigan could make it easier for veterans and other individuals who rely on their service dogs to bring them to various public places. Read more...

    Non-profit Project Evergreen provides complimentary lawn and snow and ice removal services to deployed military personnel and wounded or disabled veteransRead more...

    LinkedIn is a powerful tool for veterans and transitioning service members. Check out these fives ways veterans can use it to their advantage. Read more...
    Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Veteran Program
    1-888-822-8339 | |
    2025 Traverwood Dr., Suite C | Ann Arbor | MI | 48105