The spring of 2009 brought me to my first Post-Deployment Yellow Ribbon event. I was a few weeks away from leaving for Sniper School, and I was introduced to a veteran who I was told could give me a “few pointers” that might help me before I left. I didn’t know it then, but that gentleman I spoke briefly with was Tom Devine, one of Buddy-to-Buddy’s founding members.
More than ten years have passed since Don Behm and Tom Devine lead the way into National Guard armories across Michigan. Their mission, leave no soldier behind, carried over from their own service, and they used this to create awareness and to be a resource for returning service members. At that time there were gaps in the services available to the thousands of National Guard service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and it was these pioneers who recognized this and were successful in bringing it the attention of National Guard leadership.