14 September MDVA News and Announcements

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maryland department of veterans affairs

News and Announcements  -  September 14, 2018


New Veteran Benefits Specialist at Charlotte Hall Veterans Home

Shawn, New Service office

MDVA welcomes a new Veteran Benefits Specialist, who will be working at Charlotte Hall Veterans Home. Mr. Shawn Kersh, U.S. Army (Retired), served over twenty years in the Army, and stands ready to assist veterans with claims and questions concerning their benefits.

The Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs Service and Benefits Program provides assistance to the women and men who served in the Uniformed Services of the United States, their dependents, and survivors in obtaining benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, State of Maryland and other programs for veterans and their families.

Service and Benefits Program

Michelle 2

Another New Staff Member Joins the Charlotte Hall Staff


Michelle Cariaso has joined the Charlotte Hall staff as the Quality Assurance Manager for MDVA. Michelle is a Registered Nurse who just recently relocated to Leonardtown, Maryland from New Jersey. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in both Nursing and Physical Therapy. She last held the position of Nurse Care Manager for Hackensack Meridian Health for five years. Veterans are very dear to her heart as her grandfather and nephew both served.

Please join MDVA is welcoming the newest member of the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home staff!

Janet Thomas

Deputy Secretary Bob Finn, presents Janet Thomas with a Governor's citation for her dedicated service to MDVA and to the veterans of Maryland.  Ms. Thomas is an Area Supervisor for MDVA's Service and Benefits program, working in the Easton office.  Ms. Thomas has been working with MDVA for 23 years, and had an additional 19 years of service with the State of Maryland before transferring to MDVA for a total of 42 years as a public servant!  Congratulations Janet from all of us here at MDVA for this well-deserved recognition.

Bob, Defenders Day

MDVA Deputy Secretary Robert Finn attended the Defenders' Day observance at Ft. Howard Park in eastern Baltimore County. Defenders' Day is held as a remembrance of the Maryland Militia and commemorates the Battle of North Point during the War of 1812. Read a more detailed description of Defenders' Day

Saluting Branches - Arborists United for Veteran Remembrance will be providing volunteer expert tree care services at MDVA Rocky Gap State Veterans Cemetery on September 19, 2018, during their "Day of Service" event taking place nationwide. 

Saluting Branches' mission is to "honor American service men and women by organizing volunteer tree and landscape care for the property dedicated to our veterans."    Please see their website for more information:  https://www.salutingbranches.org/ 

MDVA Veterans Day Ceremony Changes - For Your Planning Purposes

Charlotte Hall Veterans Home Veterans Day Program will be held on Monday, November 12, 2018 at 11:00 am.  This change will allow Charlotte Hall residents to attend the Leonardtown parade on Sunday, November 11th.


Rocky Gap Veterans Day Ceremony has been cancelled for 2018 due to construction at the cemetery.  The Rocky Gap Veterans Cemetery Committee encourages the public to attend the Centennial Observance of World War I in Cumberland on Veterans Day this year. MDVA Cemeteries and Memorial Program


State Partner News


Photo Credit: Executive Office of the Governor

Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford joined the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives and the Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training (MCVET) to help kick off the 2018 Day to Serve initiative in Maryland. Governor Larry Hogan announced Maryland’s participation in the 2018 Day to Serve initiative last month, issuing a proclamation declaring September 11 – October 10 as Day to Serve month in Maryland. The annual, month-long initiative, which spans across Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and West Virginia, coincides with the National Day of Service and Remembrance and encourages citizens to choose a day from September 11 to October 10 to serve their community.

"MCVET serves an important role providing housing, education, employment, and benefits counseling, and other important resources to help homeless veterans and veterans in need transition back into our communities, and we are proud to partner with them to kick off this year’s Day to Serve,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford. “As we kick off this year’s initiative, we encourage all Marylanders to identify an important issue in their community, find a partner, and pick a Day to Serve.”

“MCVET is honored to be presented with the opportunity to kick off Maryland’s Day to Serve and be recognized by Governor Hogan for our work supporting thousands of homeless veterans in our community,” said Jeffery Kendrick, MCVET Executive Director.

Volunteers participating in the kick-off event joined MCVET residents to assist in various projects including serving lunch to veterans as well as MCVET facility and grounds maintenance. The kick-off also included contributions of supplies and food for volunteers from Home Depot, Mission BBQ, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Maryland ABLE

With Maryland ABLE, you can contribute up to $15,000 per year (or more if the beneficiary is working) for a wide range of qualified disability expenses.

The account’s growth is tax-free and your contributions could qualify for an income deduction on your Maryland State taxes.

Best of all, you can make contributions up to a maximum account value of $350,000 over the life of the account, and save up to $100,000 before impacting SSI limits for cash benefits. Other federal means-tested benefits such as Medicaid, housing and food assistance are not impacted by the balance of your ABLE account.  Similarly, ABLE account balances are disregarded for the purpose of determining eligibility to receive, or the amount of, any assistance or benefits from Maryland means-tested programs.

Spotlight on Education - Chesapeake College

Chesapeake College is excited to announce a new accelerated course for Veterans to take their skill and training and apply it to college credits. Chesapeake College has partnered with APUS to offer an online course, which then will qualify the student to begin the final year of the nursing program and bypass the first year. Finally a course that allows you to take your experience and apply it to a degree. At the end of the program all graduates will be eligible to sit for the NCLEX exam and obtain their RN license. Flier and More Info

Federal Partner News

Ready.gov - Build an Emergency Kit

Google Partners with USO to help Transitioning Service members and Active Duty Spouses Find Employment,San Diego Union-Tribune article

New Course Aims to Reduce Military Hearing Loss, Health.mil article

Air Force Opens First Invisible Wounds Center, Health.mil article

Military Medical Museum Acquires Historic Walter Reed Newspaper Series Files, Health.mil article

US Department of Justice Warns of Scams Directed Towards Elders

How to Use Veterans Benefits with Medicare, National Council on Aging

VA Releases Staff Vacancy Statistics, FEDweek article

September is National Suicide Prevention Month: Veterans Crisis Line

VA "Be There" Campaign


Community Partner News

For Your Information

The Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs does not endorse the organizations sponsoring these events, and we do not endorse the views they express or the products/services they offer.  The views and opinions expressed in any referenced document do not necessarily state or reflect those of MDVA.  The information provided is intended for your general knowledge only, and serves solely as a MDVA community outreach effort.

Community News

The Platoon 22 Horse Experience is designed to provide our Warriors the opportunity to become one with nature, network with other Warriors experiencing similar issues, PTS/TBI and most importantly, to connect with their own thoughts and emotions. This program will include a variety of structured and unstructured activities. Our goal is to provide you emotional tools and skills necessary to help reduce the symptoms of PTS and learn to relieve stress on a daily basis. The weekend will combine horse based experiential strategies with other interactive and meditative activities such as fishing, yoga, massages, art therapy, and hiking.

Our next Horse Experience dates are now posted: November 2nd through November 4th! Please click here to apply or reach out to C.O.O. Elizabeth Tate via e-mail at Elizabeth@Platoon22.org or by phone at (301) 639-5052.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month - Out of Darkness Events Around the State

Maryland Fleet Week & Air Show Baltimore - October 3-9, 2018

Community Calendar

September 15, 2018

Travis Manion Foundation Veteran Transition Workshop, Laurel

September 16, 2018

Travis Manion Foundation 9/11 Heroes Run, Annapolis

Crab Feast & Bull Roast to Benefit Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter, Inc., Laurel

September 18, 2018

MidShore Veterans Network Meeting, Easton

Warriors to the Workforce Conference, National Harbor

September 20, 2018

Project Homeless Connect, Access to Critical Services, Washington, DC

September 21, 2018

VAREP Golf Tournament, Quantico

September 22, 2018

POW-MIA Recognition Ceremony, Indian Head

Suicide Awareness Hike to Benefit Platoon 22, California

September 26, 2018

WorkBaltimore, Empowerment to Employment, Also September 27th

September 27, 2018

State of VA, Live Town Hall with VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, On-Line

September 29, 2018

Marching Our Veterans Back to Work, Fulton

September 30, 2018

Marines Helping Heroes 5K Challenge, Arundel Mills, Hanover

Catholic War Veterans Blue Mass, Baltimore

Gold Star Luminary Initiative, Westinster

Travis Manion 9/11 Heroes Run, Baltimore

October 3, 2018

Power of Age Expo, Timonium

Maryland's 30th Annual Suicide Prevention Conference, Baltimore

Baltimore Fleet Week & Air Show - Liberty Ship S.S. John W. Brown Schedule

October 4, 2018

Southern Maryland Veterans Collaborative, Charlotte Hall

Power of Age Expo, Timonium

October 5, 2018

VA Claims Assistance, Frederick

October 6, 2018

VA Claims Assistance and Veterans ID Card Help, Frederick

Anne Arundel County Police & Fire Military Appreciation Day, Millersville

October 8, 2018

Warriors to the Workforce for Veterans, Transitioning Service Members  and Military Spouses, Also on October 8th, Washington, DC

October 11, 2018

DAV - Recruit Military Job Fair, Baltimore

October 15, 2018

Voices of Vets, Inc., Columbia

Purple Heart

Correction from the August 31, 2018 edition of the MDVA e-newsletter.  Individuals in this photo, from right to left: Charles Eggleston, VA Secretary Robert Wilkins and Mike Jones