Michigan Veteran Homes seeks volunteers for No Member Dies Alone Program

 (WLUC File Photo)
(WLUC File Photo) (WLUC)
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 8:31 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Michigan Veteran Homes (MVH) is looking for volunteers to join the No Member Dies Alone (NMDA) program at each Home highlighting the need to offer companionship and assistance to veteran members who are entering the final stages of life.

NMDA is a one-of-a-kind program in which volunteers provide comfort at the bedside when family and friends can’t be present. These acts of kindness such as holding a member’s hand, talking or listening, or reading or playing music, helps each member feel more comfortable and ensures that no one should have to face the challenge of death alone.

MVH is seeking volunteers to join the NMDA program at the D.J. Jacobetti home in Marquette. If you are interested in volunteering, you can apply at one of the Homes.

“The end-of-life process can be very challenging for a lot of individuals. And someone can provide some compassion or companionship to a member in the time they need it most,” said D.J. Jacobetti Volunteer and Donations Coordinator Sarah Johnson.

In addition to the regular volunteer application process, anyone desiring to serve as a vigil volunteer will also have a special interview to determine fitness for the No Member Dies Alone team. Sensitivity and compassion are crucial and team members must feel reasonably comfortable interacting with those nearing death.

“When I retired from a very fulfilling 40-year career as an educator, I knew I needed to find something to do that had meaning and purpose,” said Mike Micele, a Vietnam veteran and NMDA volunteer. “Joining the NMDA program has been one of the most powerful and life-changing experiences of my life. 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.”

MVH provides all the training necessary including orientation sessions on member privacy regulations, bedside protocol, communication skills, and self-care. Opportunities to follow experienced volunteers are offered as well.

“Volunteers are an important part of our team that provides care and comfort to our veteran members as they enter the final stages of life,” said Jodi Thompson, director of psychosocial services and quality of life for MVH. “While there are several things volunteers can do to promote relaxation and lessen pain, sometimes it’s as simple as being present. We hope to grow the program at each of our three Homes so that our veteran members receive the support they deserve.”

If you are interested in volunteering, please direct inquiries to Michigan Veteran Homes D.J. Jacobetti - Volunteer and Donations Coordinator Sarah Johnson at johnsons93@michigan.gov or 906-226-3576 Ext: 2520396.johnsons93@michigan.gov or 906-226-3576 Ext: 2520396.