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MVTF emergency grant ‘means everything’ to Navy vet, nursing student

Seaman Chelsey Demick of Wyandotte mans the helm aboard amphibious dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island in the Gulf of Aden near Yemen in late 2011

Seaman Chelsey Demick of Wyandotte mans the helm aboard amphibious dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island in the Gulf of Aden near Yemen in late 2011. Whidbey Island was deployed as part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th fleet area of responsibility. Photo by James Turner, Navy, courtesy of DVIDS.

Chelsey Demick’s passion lies in helping others. From her time in the military, which emphasizes “others before self,” to centering her life around her young daughter, to working as an advocate for cancer patients, the Wyandotte single mother is defined by her selflessness.

But when Demick’s vehicle failed, she knew she was the one who needed help. The engine on her 2015 Mazda CX-5 sport utility vehicle had to be replaced—a $5,000 expense—and the 31-year-old nursing student was denied a loan to pay for it.

So Demick, a Navy veteran, turned to the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund, which provides emergency assistance to eligible veterans. The Trust Fund paid the bill, the dealership provided Demick a loaner vehicle while the engine was being replaced and soon the Mazda was back on the road.

“I would characterize the grant I received from the Trust Fund as a blessing,” said Demick, who still owes about $12,000 on the Mazda. “This means everything to me and Ava.”

Chelsey Demick's vehicle, a 2015 white Mazda CX-5 
Demick, who grew up in a low-income family in Metro Detroit, joined the Navy to get money for college and to be part of something bigger.

“It's almost built in me to put others before self,” she said. “My passion has always been to help others.”

As a logistics specialist, Demick served for five years on both shore and sea, including a nearly yearlong deployment in 2011 in the waters around North Africa and Western Asia.

“The hardest part of serving was being was being away from my daughter when I deployed. It felt like half of my heart was gone,” she said. “The best part of serving was the cohesiveness and the adventure.”

After an honorable discharge, Demick used her military educational benefits to get a bachelor’s degree in health care administration and a master’s in business administration. She works at University of Michigan Hospital, getting chemotherapy authorizations for cancer patients.

But her goal is to become a nurse. She’s currently finishing up a microbiology course before starting Wayne State University’s Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing program for veterans in May. BSN for Veterans is an 18-month track designed to meet the unique needs of student veterans.

Having her vehicle back will allow Demick to get her 11-year-old daughter to and from school and to attend nursing courses. And becoming a nurse will help her build a better financial future for herself and Ava, she added, and also be on the front lines of health care, working directly with patients.

“I want to become a nurse because I enjoy helping others,” Demick said. “It fills my heart to see a patient’s relief or gratefulness.”
Chelsey Demick and her daughter in front of her vehicle

The Michigan Veterans Trust Fund (MVTF), which is housed within the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, has been providing emergency assistance to eligible veterans and their families since 1946. The emergency assistance is intended to help veterans overcome an unforeseen situation causing a temporary financial emergency that a grant will resolve and for which the applicant can demonstrate the ability to meet future expenses. The biggest needs for emergency assistance in fiscal year 2023 were shelter, utilities and transportation.