Jamiee McClelland is currently deployed with the military. The UM-Flint student will soon return home for a short break before being deployed again. When she does return home in May, this soldier is excited about performing a new service. She will be part of a group called Generation Serve that will be stationed at Hurley Medical Center. Their mission is to spend time with older veterans during their hospital stays–sharing stories and a familiar sense of camaraderie.
“I love participating in volunteer opportunities. In addition to volunteering, I enjoy the many stories that our vets have. I am a medical technician in the Air Force and when I was going through training my favorite part about working in the ward was talking with the older vets. I could have stayed in their room throughout my shift just talking with them,” said McClelland. “Now I have the opportunity to do this in my own community. I am super excited about it and cannot wait to start.”
Generation Serve is a program created by UM-Flint student and veteran Cameron Waites in cooperation with the Flint Chapter of the Student Veterans of America to fill what he saw as a big need, especially for those interested in a healthcare career. Each member of the group will receive volunteer training at Hurley.
“I would like to think that the Generation Serve program will help connect veterans across generations while also preparing today’s interested student veterans to be outstanding future healthcare providers,” said Waites. “After serving as an army medic, both at home and at war, I have seen the difference that experience and compassion can make on the provider-patient interaction. Generation Serve will help us meet the patient at their level, and the time we spend with each elder veteran will keep the right perspective in our lives.”
When putting the Generation Serve program together, Waites contacted the VFW commander in Flushing, Mich., David LaForest for input. LaForest was impressed that young veterans, who are busy starting their lives, would take time to pay homage to older veterans.
“I believe that veterans now feel a kinship with each other regardless of age and conflict served in. When I was discharged in 1969 there was a feeling among my generation that the older generation of veterans did not want us around,” remembers LaForest. “There is nothing of the sort today, kind acts like Generation Serve help to seal the bond between the generations of veterans. It is a mutual admiration society that is perpetuated by veterans like Cameron, and we thank him for that.”
If you are interested in Generation Serve and want more information, contact Waites at firstname.lastname@example.org .