Soldiers serve our country, and often come home to find themselves in some very tough financial situations. Fortunately West Michigan Veteran's Assistance Program is here to help, providing financial assistance to thousands of veterans in West Michigan.
The organization serves veterans in five counties: Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Muskegon and Ottawa. In the year 2017 they serviced 2726 households with nearly 5,600 participants in those households.
West Michigan Veterans Assistance Program is a stand alone non-profit, and is separate from the Veterans Administration. If veterans seek help through the administration, it can take up to two months to get financial assistance, whereas the Veterans Assistance Program can provide financial help within days.
The program is completely run by volunteers, many of who are retired veterans, so they know how important it is to provide this service to former servicemen and women.
"Our motto is leave no veteran behind," said Vice President Thornell Billingslea. "Any veteran that comes to us that has a need for food, need for his utility bills, rent to be paid, car repair, or whatever need, they can come to us."
In order to get financial assistance, people must be a veteran that has served at least six months (180 days) of active military service. Veterans also need to have a picture ID and a valid DD214 that proves they have been honorably or medically discharged from service.
"They are not here because they are getting a hand out," said Board Member Willie Taylor. "They have earned the right to come here because they are veterans and we treat everyone with the same dignity and respect. We want them to come and tell other people about the services we have here and what we can give to them."
West Michigan Veteran's Assistance Program is located at 620 Century Street in Grand Rapids.
For more information, call (616)-719-9408 or visit wmvap.org.