Michigan Veterans Foundation serves those who served and so much more

Image 1 of 3

It's noon at the Michigan Veterans Foundation and time for lunch.

But it is not a traditional mess hall - the meal is practically gourmet, and they serve up to 350 meals per day.

"Today we have Alaskan pollock, pork tenderloin, baked turkey wings, spaghetti," said Demarco Ward, executive chef, Michigan Veterans Association. All of it made with love by Ward himself, who's a disabled veteran now serving those who've served.

"It's a full community effort with these guys," said Ward. "Because they served the entire country - now it's time for the country to serve them."

"This is a busy place, of course we are the Michigan Veterans Foundation," said Tyrone Chatman. "We've been around since 1989 taking care of those who've taken care of this great nation. So for us, it's a no brainer."

The men at the Michigan Veterans Foundation have been homeless. Many are struggling with addiction and down on their luck. But for 30 years Vietnam veteran Tyrone Chatman and his staff have been providing shelter and services to get these veterans - back on their feet during a stay that lasts anywhere from 18 to 24 months.

In 2017 the organization moved from a location near Little Caesar's Arena to a brand new facility on Grand River.

"It's just the fact that they're back with their brothers and that spirit of camaraderie which they experience all the way through the military, they re-experience it all over again," Chatman said.

People like Larry Sandridge - who found himself homeless and in need of help. He's now been working here for several years.

"I was out there in the streets," he said. "I lived in a tent, homeless, things weren't going right until I came here."

Other veterans swear by the program as well - Willie Jorden is a Vietnam veteran who just got out of the hospital.

"When I first came here - I had to place nowhere else to go," he said "This place helped me from day one. It was really a lifesaver. (They) literally (saved my life)."

The Michigan Veterans Foundation provides counseling, education, job placement, you name it - a full service resource serving those who've served.

"We've all got something in common, whether it be war or anything," said Philip Hubbard, Color Guard MVF. "We're able to talk to each other better than most people who don't understand."

"Even after you get out of the program, they're still in place to help you," said Robert Calhoun, Color Guard MVF. "If you feel like you're weakening - they're still there to support you."

"There are a ton of groups that help us out on our mission to see to it that these guys can regain their stability," said Chatman. "and get back out into society as positive, productive, tax-paying, voting members of society."

For more information: michiganveteransfoundation.org/