Veteran given hospice bed after VA shortage dies

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A US Navy veteran who needed hospice care and found a bed at a retirement community in Jenison has died, his wife announced on Facebook.

Carla Rich said that her husband, John, died Friday night.

“He fought hard for the last 16 months and now it’s time to rest. I will forever remember his amazing heart, his laugh, and his amazing loyalty to his family and friends. He was my best friend for 20 years, helped my life. Once he became a father, it was a role he was made for. Please pray for our entire family as we begin our new journey without him,” her Facebook post read in part.

John and Carla Rich during their time in the US Navy.  (courtesy)
John and Carla Rich during their time in the US Navy. (courtesy)

Carla and John Rich met while the two served aboard the USS Carl Vinson. They married and had a son, now 4.

In 2021, John Rich was diagnosed at the VA Clinic in Wyoming with glioblastoma — brain cancer. Surgery in August 2021 removed most of one tumor, but two more formed on his brain.

When it was time to arrange hospice, the hospice beds at a facility just minutes from their home were full. The Veteran’s Administration told them the only VA-contracted hospice spaces available were in Portage or Lansing, about an hour’s drive for the family.

Waterford Place, a retirement community in Jenison, John Rich offered a place to stay at no cost to his family.

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