GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The state’s veteran care program is searching for volunteers to stand by dying veterans in their final moments.

Michigan Veteran Homes are looking for people who have compassion, sensitivity and comfort to volunteer with its No Member Dies Alone program. Veterans across the state pass away when family and friends can’t be present. The NMDA program looks to provide veterans with people who will hold their hand, talk, listen, play music or read to make veterans more comfortable during that time.

Volunteers are needed at three veteran’s house locations: Grand Rapids, Chesterfield Township on the east side of the state and Marquette in the Upper Peninsula.

MVH is asking for volunteers who feel “reasonably comfortable interacting with those nearing death,” but said it will provide all the training necessary, including orientation sessions or shadowing a more experienced volunteer.

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact the specific house they would like to apply for. The volunteer coordinator for Michigan Veteran Homes at Grand Rapids is Becky Smit, who can be reached at or 517.281.8963.

The volunteer coordinator for Michigan Veteran Homes at Chesterfield Township is Maxine Butler, who can be reached at or 586.256.9921.

The volunteer and donations coordinator for Michigan Veteran Homes D.J. Jacobetti in Marquette is Sarah Johnson, who can be reached at or 906.226.3576 Ext. 2520396.

“Joining the NMDA program has been one of the most powerful and life-changing experiences of my life,” said Mike Micele, a Vietnam veteran and NMDA volunteer. “It is truly spiritual work. In some cases, these veterans don’t have friends or family present so to be there and tell them they are loved and there is nothing to fear is beyond words. The best gift we can give a dying member is our time, presence and love. This is work that needs doing and demands our best.”