When Dallas Ward moved Downeast nearly five years ago, he was surprised to find a place that cared exclusively for Veterans and their families – Maine Veterans’ Homes - Machias. Retired, Ward found himself with spare time and decided to dedicate that time to volunteering at the Home.
“I was happy to know that our Veterans were getting the care and respect they so deserve,” said Ward, a Vietnam War Veteran.
Ward’s work at the Home has evolved.
“Right now I have what I like to call a Reading Club,” he said. “Some of the folks’ eyes are failing so I bring things in to read. The group has sampled different genres but they mostly enjoy historical pieces.”
A Helping Hand, Much Needed
Help from volunteers is valuable to the Activities Department, especially when residents go on outings.
“We go to all kinds of places,” Ward said. “We tour museums and go on train rides.”
When it comes to the Home’s female Veterans and spouses, he finds that they like to read about history that took place during their lives.
“It stimulates their memories and makes them feel good that that time is being remembered,” Ward said. “It’s also fun for me – I learn things.”
Residents at MVH Machias love their games, Ward said – cribbage, billiards, board games and their favorite, Bingo.
“They really enjoy the competition,” he added.
Ward said when he volunteers, he sees it as visiting residents in their homes.
“I try to provide a little entertainment, companionship even. I respect them and try to give them a door or window into the outer world,” he said.
Ward’s wife and dog have accompanied him on visits to MVH Machias, as have his daughters.
“They enjoyed it so much, I think, because they know I enjoy it. I haven’t always been a people person so I thought I’d bring my family and let them see the people I enjoy,” he said.
“I’m proud to know these people,” Ward said. “They have done their part by serving their country and I’d like to think that I’m helping to do my part.”
Volunteer at MVH
Maine Veterans’ Homes, an independent nonprofit organization, has six Homes throughout the state: Augusta, Bangor, Caribou, Machias, Scarborough and South Paris. All have a need for dedicated volunteers to make a difference in the lives of our Veterans. To learn more, visit our Volunteer page >>>