7 December 2018 MDVA News & Announcements

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maryland department of veterans affairs

News and Announcements  -  December 7, 2018

Pearl Harbor Day


MDVA Leads Maryland Veterans Services Specialist Program


On Thursday, November 29, the Maryland Army National Guard hosted the Veterans Services Specialist (VSS) Program meeting.  Since it's inception in October 2017, liaisons assigned to the program have met four times and have completed their first annual training on veteran benefits and services in Maryland.  A VSS liaison exists now in each state government department or agency.  Liaisons are available to assist state employees who have served in the military and their families by connecting them to MDVA for assistance or by connecting them directly to VA services.  Several Departments have recognized their veteran employees this year, including General Services, Housing and Community Development, Public Safety and Corrections, Public Service Commission, Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems and State Lottery and Gaming.  Program liaisons look forward to an exciting 2019 and to continuing their collaboration to better serve our veteran community and their families.  Thank you to each of our VSS Program Liaisons!  Veterans Services Specialist Program

VSS Meeting

Veterans Services Specialists on the drill floor at the 5th Regiment Armory in Baltimore. Following the meeting the VSS liaisons toured the Maryland Museum of Military History, also located at the Armory.

6:05 am

MDVA Deputy Secretary Bob Finn pins a Vietnam Veteran with Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin, on his way in to work one morning last week.  It was 6:05 am, so we didn't get the Veterans's name to report here, but we thank him for his service and Welcome him Home!


A crew of Midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy helped clean up and repair the World War II Memorial, which overlooks the Severn River.  Heartfelt thanks go out to the Midshipmen who gave up their rare personal time to help.  MDVA always appreciates volunteers who help us keep the Memorials and Cemeteries in tip-top shape.  If you would like to help with spring efforts to clean the Cemeteries and Memorials, please contact us after the first of the year.  MDVA Cemetery & Memorial Program

Sec & Sharon

Recently a meeting of the Veterans Regional Advisory Committee was held at Charlotte Hall Veterans Home.  Shown in this photo, from left to right: Andrew "Doc" McCorison of Healing Our Heroes, Michael S. Heimall, the new VA DC Medical Center Director, Sharon Murphy, Director of Charlotte Hall Veterans Home, and MDVA Secretary George Owings

State Partner News

Maryland Department of Natural Resources Offers Gift of Trees


This holiday season the Maryland Department of Natural Resources offers everyone the opportunity to give the Gift of Trees, a program where Marylanders purchase native trees for planting in honor of a celebration, commemoration or observation.

Trees provide ecological, economic and quality of life benefits and services, including enhancing air and water quality, reducing energy costs, increasing property values, beautifying communities, neighborhoods and highways, while also providing essential habitat for birds and other wildlife.

All trees will be planted in locations that will benefit from them the most, including parks, playgrounds and schoolyards; cities and towns; and along creeks and streams. Maryland Forest Service staff help choose the appropriate location and species to best assure the tree flourishes well into the future.

A Gift of Trees certificate suitable for framing will be issued and mailed out within a week or two of an order. All trees will be planted in the next growing season – either spring or fall – to promote optimal growth and survival. Orders must be placed by Dec. 15, 2018, to ensure certificate delivery in time for the holidays.

Trees can be ordered online or via mail (a separate order form should be used for each recipient) along with a check made payable to: Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Forest Service, Tawes State Office Building, E-1, Annapolis, Maryland 21401.

Property Tax Credit for Certain Veterans or Military Retirees

Some local jurisdictions in Maryland are providing a partial property tax credit for Disabled Veterans and/or Military Retirees.  Here is the information we have currently:

Anne Arundel County

Harford County

Montgomery County

Washington County

For more information, please contact your County Office of Assessments and Taxation.

Note: Veterans who are rated 100% permanently and totally disabled by the the United States Department of Veterans Affairs may apply for a full property tax exemption on their primary residence.  More Information

Governor Larry Hogan, First Lady Yumi Hogan to Host Holiday Open House - Tomorrow

All Marylanders Welcome for Public Celebration at

Government House

Government House

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan and First Lady Yumi Hogan invite Marylanders and their families to join them for a Holiday Open House on Saturday, December 8, from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM at Government House. The event is free of charge, open to the public, and no reservations are required.

The First Family asks that guests consider bringing unwrapped toys to be donated to those in need during this holiday season. On behalf of Toys for Tots, the Maryland State Police will be collecting donations under a tent by the front gate.

The decorations for the open house will include Christmas trees provided by Lowe’s Bayshore Nursery in Stevensville, Md., and refreshments will include assortments of holiday cookies, brownies, and dessert bars prepared by Government House chefs. Hot Wassail will also be available for guests waiting in line outside of Government House and live music will be provided by Maryland high school groups, with a different performance each hour.

Holiday ornaments provided by the Foundation for the Preservation of Government House of Maryland will be available for purchase inside, proceeds from which will help support and maintain the historical significance of Government House with repairs, remodeling, and preservation.

Guests may park in the Bladen Street garage, which does not charge on weekends, or in other garages located on Main Street and West Street. Please click here for a detailed map showing more parking options in downtown Annapolis.

This week, the First Lady also personally welcomed members of garden clubs from all 24 Maryland jurisdictions to the State House to deliver and decorate a Christmas tree or a wreath in the rotunda. She presented a certificate of appreciation and Christmas ornaments to each club. Menorahs have also been placed in the State House and Government House.

You can watch a video invitation from Governor Hogan for the open house here.

Federal Partner News


There is help for anyone caring for a service member, Health.Mil article

Hypertension linked to Agent Orange, Health.Mil article

VA Health Care - Whole Health Approach

VA Maryland Health Care System Medical Foster Care for Veterans, WYPR Program

Dispose of unused medications safely

Flu Shot Information - Maryland VA Health Care System

VA Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment Program now offering Tele-Counseling

VA Facebook Live Event on December 11th - From Service to Success

Montgomery County Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) is up and running. Effective January 6, 2019 a Ride on Bus will run from the Shady Grove and Rockville Metro Stations every 30 minutes from 6:00 am to 8:30 pm.

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

SAVE THE DATE: Gilchrest's 2nd Annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration, Saturday, March 30, 2019.   Flier    Registration Open


Maryland Humanities, Veterans Book Group at Local Libraries, 2019 Schedule


FREE Personal Financial Coaching for Veterans!

Are you tired of feeling stressed about money? Want to improve your finances?

Do you have a financial goal but don’t think you can accomplish it on your own?

CASH Campaign of Maryland has partnered with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to provide financial coaching services to veterans. A financial coach is a trained professional who will guide you in a process that is non-judgmental and based on your goals. Financial coaches provide support, encouragement, and tools to help you make informed decisions.

Coaching can help you:

  • Get back on track
  • Maximize income/benefits
  • Kick-start your financial game plan
  • Gain control of your finances
  • Navigate a difficult financial situation
  • Be the author of your own financial life

Learn how to create your own financial game plan with an experienced coach…one-on-one!  It’s FREE, confidential and personalized

It usually works best for the veteran and their family member to meet in person; however, tele-coaching and virtual coaching services are available.

Contact: Wyneca Pruett, Financial Coach

443.632.4005 or wyneca@cashmd.org


THE MISSION CONTINUES - Operation Charm City Charge, Mass Deployment 2019, June 20-27, 2017, Baltimore Maryland: More Information

Community Calendar

December 11, 2018

Ready Set Go! The Nuts & Bolts of Starting a Business, Rockville

December 12, 2018

One-Day Free Veterans Legal Clinic, Silver Spring

SBA 8(A) Certification Workshop, Columbia

December 13, 2018

Smart Start Your Business Workshop, College Park

December 15, 2018

Wreaths Across America, Cheltenham Veterans Cemetery

December 16, 2018

Home, Heroes & Holidays, Post Deployment Holidays: How to Make Them Happy & Safe,        La Plata

Spotlight on: Hospice of the Chesapeake

For several years, Hospice of the Chesapeake has invited the community to attend Veterans Day events designed to recognize the dedication and sacrifice of men and women who have served in the military. With veterans making up more than a quarter of its patients, the nonprofit considers it a duty to help the community understand how important it is to thank veterans for their service while they are living.

One of the dilemmas of having an event in one place is that veterans who lived in assisted- and senior-living centers are unable to attend. This year, the organization’s We Honor Veterans Committee decided to not only honor veterans while they are living, but also, where they are living. Beginning on Oct. 14 with the veterans of Morningside House of Friendship in Hanover and finishing Nov. 19 with Heartlands Assisted Living in Severna Park, the committee coordinated group Honor Salutes at 10 assisted and senior-living centers in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties. The other centers visited by these men and women in dress uniform were Brightview Senior Living centers in Annapolis, Edgewater and Severna Park; Doctors Community Rehabilitation in Lanham, FutureCare Capital Region in Landover, Genesis Healthcare Hammonds Lane in Brooklyn Park; Somerford Place in Annapolis; and Sunrise Senior Living in Severna Park.

  In total, 183 veterans were honored by active duty and retired personnel as well as U. S. Naval Academy midshipmen. Each of them received a certificate of appreciation from Hospice of the Chesapeake, an American flag pin and a thank you note written by Anne Arundel County Public Schools elementary-age children. Each ceremony ended with the military visitors standing in formation and performing a silent salute.

In some communities, the salute was quiet and small, especially in assisted-living centers like FutureCare Capital Region, where veterans were visited and saluted in each of their rooms. Air Force Tech Sgt. Akesha Lowry of Crofton has taken it upon herself to learn the anthems of each of the branches of the armed forces and includes it whenever she performs an Honor Salute. Each time her alto voice would begin the first verse in a patient’s room, the veteran lit up with a smile as they sang along or tapped their toes in rhythm.

Other communities ran with the opportunity to celebrate their veterans by adding more to the program. A luncheon was served at Sunrise Senior Living and musical performances were offered up in the programs coordinated by the Brightview communities in Severna Park and Annapolis. Barbara Sigler, the vibrant living director at Brightview in Severna Park said having the organization and its military volunteers there to honor their veterans was appreciated in many ways. The residents especially enjoyed meeting the younger generation currently serving and sharing stories, insights and laughter. “Getting cards from local children that say, ‘Thank you! You’re my hero,’ was icing on the cake,” Sigler said. “The actual Honor Salute was so powerful that I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.”

That sentiment was echoed by Jenelle Schrader, the vibrant living director at Brightview in Edgewater, who said her community’s veterans were deeply moved by the Veterans Day weekend visit. “Residents displayed tears of joy and appreciation,” she said.

The month-long caravan of Honor Salutes is part of Hospice of the Chesapeake’s We Honor Veterans program, a partnership with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is focused on providing the best care for veterans and their families through respectful inquiry, compassionate listening and grateful acknowledgment.

Director of Volunteer Services Mary Jermann, whose department oversees the program, said this grateful acknowledgement can be witnessed in these broader community events, as well as experienced in smaller groups. “The smaller, intimate ceremonies are much more common for those in our hospice care, where we honor our veteran patients at the end of life,” Jermann said. Volunteers have shared dozens of poignant experiences when nonresponsive patients have not only acknowledged the ceremony, but even participated in their own Honor Salute by moving their lips to the anthem or lifting their hand to return the salute.

“It warms our hearts to hear these stories and to know that we have had a hand in bringing peace to our veterans,” Jermann said.



5th annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration

Hospice of the Chesapeake will host its fifth annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at 5 p.m. Friday, March 29, 2019, at Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport Hotel, 1736 W. Nursery Road, Linthicum, Maryland. The doors will open at 4 p.m.

This is the fifth year the state will celebrate the commemorative day. In 2015, at the request of Hospice of the Chesapeake’s We Honor Veterans Committee, legislation was introduced by state Senator John Astle to make the day official. It was the first bill Governor Larry Hogan signed into law. States and organizations across the nation plan events at the end of March with the hope that every Vietnam Veteran can receive the thank you and warm welcome they should have received five decades ago.

Headquartered in Pasadena, Maryland, Hospice of the Chesapeake is a Commemorative Partner in the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration as well as a 4-Star Partner in the We Honor Veterans program, a national hospice initiative honoring the men and women from all branches of the military who have served our country.

For photos from last year’s event, visit https://www.facebook.com/pg/hospicechesapeake/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1712532995469449.

For sponsorship opportunities, contact Chris Wilson at 443-837-1530 or cwilson@hospicechesapeake.org.