1 February 2019 MDVA News and Announcements

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maryland department of veterans affairs

News and Announcements  -  February 1, 2019


MDVA Service & Benefits Program


The MDVA Service and Benefits staff help thousands of Veterans and Dependents navigate the complex regulations and paperwork required by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, when applying for benefits.

In 2018 the program staff submitted 4,827 disability and compensation claims for Maryland Veterans.

If you think you you should be receiving VA benefits, or if you have questions about your eligibility, contact one of the MDVA offices.  Link to office locations

20th Logo

MDVA celebrates 20 years of service to Maryland Veterans this year. Stay tuned for more information and events!

MDVA Website

State Partner News

Public Comment Sought for State Forest Work Plans


The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on the proposed fiscal year 2020 work plans for the following state forests: Chesapeake Forest/Pocomoke, Green Ridge, Potomac-Garrett and Savage River. The comment period concludes Feb. 22.

Annual work plans help the department identify priorities within the scope of the forests’ long-range management. They address composition, establishment, growth, health and quality along with construction and maintenance projects.

Public comments can be sent via email to jack.perdue@maryland.gov.

“Healthy and sustainable forests benefit our citizens, economy and environment,” Maryland Forest Service Director Don VanHassent said. “Public input is invaluable in helping us develop the most comprehensive and effective management practices for these lands.”

The public comment period is the final part in a three-step process. The first step was an internal review by a team of natural resource professionals with the second being a review by an appointed advisory committee. Following the conclusion of the comment period, each forest manager will review, revise and finalize their specific plan.


2019 Session of the Maryland General Assembly has Convened


The Maryland General Assembly is currently meeting in Annapolis for the 2019 Legislative Session.  As a service to the veteran community, information on proposed legislation of possible interest to veterans is provided below:

2019 Legislative Information

You may check the status of proposed legislation by visiting the:

Maryland General Assembly Website


Spotlight on Education: Community College of Baltimore County

CCBC Cybersecurity Institute Launches Accelerated Stackable Credential Series
For Work on Government Networks Spring 2019

Veterans of the armed forces and current active members with an interest in the field of
Cybersecurity may want to consider enrolling in the spring 2019 semester Accelerated Stackable
Credential Series through the CCBC Cybersecurity Institute.
The four-course series is designed for individuals wishing to obtain industry certifications
required for work on government networks. The entire series may be successfully completed
over 16 weeks and lead to industry-recognized certifications in Cybersecurity include Network+,
Security+, Operating Systems Security (SCMP), and Ethical Hacking & Systems Defense.
Each course is delivered in a four-week blended format (typically two evening per week
in the classroom, with additional online studies).
Individuals successfully completing the series will earn 15 college credits and become
eligible to take the matching industry certification examinations at the Pearson VUE Authorized
Test Center conveniently located at CCBC Essex. In addition, students successfully completing
the series are eligible for reimbursement of up to $500 after passing the industry certification
examinations associated with the stacked credential courses. Individuals may enroll in any or all
of the four stacked credential courses.
The Accelerated Stackable Credentials Series supports cybersecurity professionals
currently or planning to work in government positions or as government contractors on jobs
requiring the DoD 8570.1 certifications.
For further information, please contact Ron Hinkel (Director of the Cybersecurity
Institute) at or Ed Roberts (Outreach Coordinator) at eroberts@ccbcmd.edu.
To register for the Accelerated Stackable Credential Series, please contact CCBC
Enrollment Services at 443-840-2222.

Federal Partner News


100% Service Connected Veterans Now Eligible for Space A Travel, FEDweek article

Brain biomarkers could help identify those at risk of severe PTSD, National Institutes of Health

Veterans' Eye Care Services

Veterans' Mental Health Services and Coverage

Overview of VA employment benefits and how to apply ,Video

New Veterans Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Montgomery County ,Video

Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership (VITAL), Partnership between VA Maryland Health Care System and local Colleges and Universities

My name is Dave Rababy, I am a retired Marine Corps officer, working with the Digital Service Branch of the VA in conducting a veteran survey. Highlights of this survey include:

Feel free to share with other Veterans in you network 



The Department of Veterans Affairs is continually seeking ways to improve online the experience for Veterans using websites, apps and other digital tools. To do so, the VA conducts usability studies that require Veterans to provide their feedback about how usable the tools are and how they can be improved. 

Most studies are conducted online - you'll only need a computer connected to the Internet. Some studies are conducted face-to-face near you or may require a smartphone. The studies typically last one hour or less and are scheduled during business hours (Eastern time zone).

Some studies may require Veterans with specific characteristics. 

All participants will receive a Thank You gift 

To meet the VA's continuous needs, we are recruiting many Veterans, so we also appreciate sharing word of the program with other Veterans you think may want to participate. Just share the website address - www.veteranusability.us. 

Process | Step #1

The first step is to register. After clicking Register, you will be directed to our Participant Recruiting Screener Questionnaire to provide basic details about yourself. Registration takes about 5 minutes. As a thanks, we'll email you a $5.00 Amazon Coupon Code. 

Process | Step #2

Once registered, we will invite you via email to participate in a  study that matches your characteristics. You'll then need to sign a participant agreement and consent form. To participate, you'll simply login as instructed and provide your feedback. Then we send you a check! 

Semper Fidelis, 

David A. Rababy


Rababy & Associates

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.


Major Jason Main, who lives in Maryland is on a mission to help other veterans in recovery.  An article about Major Main was recently published in the MOAA Military Officer publication.  There are also two videos: What Do You Do and My Story

If you are seeking help, Major Main invites you to contact him: LifehouseMD1@gmail.com


Community News

Project Opportunity - Spring Class in Anne Arundel CountySpring Class in Prince George's County and Lunch and Learn on March 7th in Waldorf.  Free Entrepreneurship Training for Veterans who want to start their own business.


Spouse Support Group, Sponsored by the Prince Georges County Vet Center, Clinton.  Info Sessions on Feb. 13th and Feb. 27th.  Six week group sessions start March 13th.


Melwood Veterans Services’ Operation Tohidu is holding a pilot session for male military sexual trauma (MST) survivors September 9 – 13, 2019.  There is no cost to attend and it is open to veterans across the country, however, space is limited to 15 people.  Please check out www.operationtohidu.org  or our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/MelwoodVeterans) for more information, to register or to donate.    For additional information please contact Travis Rahill at trahill@melwood.org or (301)599-4550. 

Operation Tohidu is continuing to grow.  Today we completed our 22nd retreat and have had 229 veterans, service members and significant others attend the program.  Serving underserved populations in the veterans community is our focus: couples, MST survivors, women and moral injury. 

February 11 – 15              Couple’s Session

March 4 – 8                        Women’s Session for MST Survivors

March 24 – 29                    Men’s Session

April 15 – 19                       TBD  (will be based on demand)

May 6 – 10                          TBD  (will be based on demand)

September 9 – 13             Men’s Session for MST Survivors



Save the Date - Thursday, March 21, 2019, Lunch and Learn: Resources for Caregivers in Service to our Men and Women Who've Served, Catonsville


Save the Date - Friday, March 29, 2019, Spring 2019 Meeting of CCBC ATPL Military Advisory Board. Time: 2:00pm - 3:00pm  Location: CCBC Essex campus, Romadka Building, Room 107 (E.ROMA 107)  RSVP: https://ccbcmiladvisoryspring19.eventbrite.com
 (Password: CCBCVeteranServices) More Info


Save the Date - June 20 - 27, 2019 The Mission Continues, Mass Deployment 2019, Operation Charm City Charge

VConnections Events in Southern Maryland:

Veterans Coffee Break on Wednesdays, Waldorf

Senior Veterans Coffee Break, Charleston Senior Community, Waldorf

Veterans Weekend Coffee Break, LaPlata

More Information

Community Calendar

February 4, 2019

Vet Arts Connect, Introductory Improv for Military Veterans, Six sessions beginning 2/4 in Columbia

February 5, 2019

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, Veterans Ensemble: Olive Branch and Laurel Crown, beginning 2/5 in Baltimore

February 6, 2019

VetArts Connect: Veterans Telling Stories, Workshop Series, Baltimore

February 9th & 10th

Warrior to Soul Mate, Couples Workshop sponsored by the Prince George's County Vet Center, Clinton

February 12, 2019

Bmore Military Muster, Halethorpe

February 16, 2019

19th Annual Buffalo Soldiers Banquet, Baltimore

February 23, 2019

Marathon Bluegrass Jam Maryland, to benefit Fisher House Foundation, Severn

February 26, 2019

VA Benefits Briefing, Temple Hills

Save the Date: Welcome Home Vietnam Veteran Events in March


Saturday, March 2, 2019, Knights of Columbus Honors Those Who Served During Vietnam, Nottingham

Friday, March 29, 2019, Hospice of the Chesapeake's 5th Annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day, Linthicum

Saturday, March 30, 2019, Gilchrist's 2nd Annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration, Baltimore County, Video of last year's event

Saturday, March 30, 2019, Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day, Easton

Hospice of the Chesapeake earns highest status with national veterans program

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization recently announced that Hospice of the Chesapeake’s We Honor Veterans program has achieved Level 5 status. It is one of nine hospices in the nation to earn this new level of excellence, and the only Level 5 partner in the Delmarva region.

The status is a result of a yearlong pilot program initiated by WHV that included a pilot group of Level 4 hospice partners who implemented activities to expand their efforts and services provided to veterans and communities they serve. Aside from existing requirements, Level 5 will ensure that partners place a greater emphasis on staff education and caring for combat veterans. Additionally, Hospice of the Chesapeake will join its other Level 5 partners in taking on the role of regional mentor to other partners working to enhance their programs.

NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach said that the expansion of the program to include a new level of excellence demonstrates that We Honor Veteran partners are committed to providing quality veteran-centric care to the veteran patients they serve. “We are incredibly proud of the Level 4 partners that participated in the pilot program and look forward to working with other partners eager to begin the process of attaining Level 5 – a journey that will include a lot hard work and dedication,” Banach said.

Hospice of the Chesapeake’s Volunteer Services Director Mary Jermann, who leads the organization’s WHV program, said meeting the difficult milestones required to achieve Level 5 status has enhanced an already robust program. It not only benefits veterans on its census, but other patients, as well as the organization’s staff and volunteers. “As our We Honor Veterans program has matured, it has extended beyond the Honor Salute to include many other veteran services activities and events,” Jermann said. “We are excited to carry our mission forward to mentor other hospices to do the same.”

The We Honor Veterans program is part of the national Hospice-Veteran Partnership, a collaborative effort between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the NHPCO. The campaign’s goal is to help improve the care dying veterans receive from the nation’s hospice and palliative care providers.

            Hospice of the Chesapeake has been a partner since 2010. On any given day, the organization’s staff and volunteers care for more than 125 Veterans in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties. The We Honor Veterans program supports veterans and their families with Honor Salutes, the Veteran-to-Veteran Volunteer Program; Veterans celebrations, educational programs and partnerships with the U. S. Naval Academy, Fort George G. Meade and Anne Arundel County Public Schools and more.

             One signature event that exemplifies Hospice of the Chesapeake’s commitment to veterans is its annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day celebration. The event provides an opportunity for the community to thank Vietnam Veterans for their service and to give them the welcome home they should have received decades ago. Now in its fifth year, the celebration will take place at 5:30 p.m. Friday, March 29, at the Hilton Baltimore BWI Hotel. The doors will open at 4 p.m. for veterans to enjoy hors d’oeuvres, socialize and speak with representatives from veterans’ service organizations. The event is free for Vietnam Veterans and one guest and $30 for all others. To reserve seating, visit https://www.hospicechesapeake.org/2019-whvvd/.

For details, email veterans@hospicechsapeake.org or call Nicole Malatesta at 443-837-1513.

# # #

For 40 years, Hospice of the Chesapeake has been caring for life throughout the journey with illness and loss.  For details, visit www.hospicechesapeake.org.