15 February 2019 MDVA News and Announcements

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maryland department of veterans affairs

News and Announcements  -  February 15, 2019


Governor Hogan Declares 2019 as the "Year of the Veteran"

20th Logo


On February 7th, Governor Larry Hogan declared 2019 as the Year of the Veteran in Maryland. More than 100 Maryland Veterans attended the ceremony, where the Governor presented a Proclamation and he also discussed legislation he will introduce during the 2019 session of the Maryland General Assembly.  Read the entire Press Release below, in the State Partner News section.

More Photos of the event

Group photo

Year of the Veteran: Governor Larry Hogan in front and center holding the Proclamation. Standing with him are MDVA Secretary George Owings and Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, as well as more than 100 Maryland Veterans.

Photo Credit: Executive Office of the Governor

Thornton Brothers

Brothers in Arms: CSM Wilson Thornton, USA-retired on the left, and his brother Leroy Thornton, a Korean War Veteran attended the reception at the State House.  These gentleman continue to serve their fellow veterans with Wilson serving on the War Memorial Commission and Leroy serving as the Vice Chair of the Maryland Veterans Commission.

Photo Credit: Executive Office of the Governor

Another Big Anniversary - Charlotte Hall Veterans Home


On January 29, 1985 Charlotte Hall Veterans Home opened the doors and welcomed five veterans, including one female veteran into the facility.  Since 1985, more than 6,000 veterans and spouses have been admitted as residents to Charlotte Hall.  Congratulations to the Staff and Volunteers at Charlotte Hall for 34 years of Serving Those Who Served!

EMPLOYMENT NOTICE: MDVA is recruiting for two open positions:

Motor Equipment Operator III

Veterans Cemetery Supervisor

Grange pinning

MDVA Deputy Secretary Robert Finn presents Vietnam Veteran Commemoration Pins and Proclamations to Mr. Thomas Herford who served in the United States Air Force on the left, and Mr. Thomas Holland who served in the United States Coast Guard on the right.

State Partner News

Governor Larry Hogan Proclaims 2019 as the Year of the Veteran in Maryland

Administration to Introduce Legislation to Exempt 100% of Military Retirement Income from State Tax

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Joined by more than 100 veterans, Governor Larry Hogan proclaimed 2019 as the Year of the Veteran in Maryland. This yearlong observance raises awareness of the brave service and sacrifice our United States veterans and families have made for Maryland and our country. Following the announcement, which was made on the north steps of the Maryland State House in Annapolis, the veterans joined the governor for a gathering in the Governor’s Reception Room.   

“Our administration is committed to ensuring that Maryland’s 380,000 veterans are recognized for their service,” said Governor Hogan. “This proclamation is yet another way we can show our gratitude and honor the men and women who have sacrificed so much for Maryland and our nation.”

The governor also announced that he will again introduce legislation during the 2019 legislative session to exempt 100% of military retirement income from state tax. The governor has repeatedly advocated to eliminate state taxes on the retirement income of military retirees.

In addition to raising awareness of our veterans’ service, the proclamation highlights a number of significant 2019 anniversaries. This year marks the fifth anniversary of the first piece of legislation signed into law by Governor Hogan which designated March 30 as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day. June 6 marks the 75th anniversary of the World War II Normandy Invasion, officially referred to as D-Day. October 1 marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs. This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the first recognized Armistice Day, now known as Veterans Day.

The proclamation also provides the opportunity to raise awareness of the work done every day by the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs in service to those who have served. Throughout the year, the department will join federal, state, and local partners to celebrate and acknowledge the service of the 380,000 Marylanders who have served in the United States uniformed services.

“I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Governor Hogan for this exciting proclamation announcement,” said Secretary of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs George Owings. “Proclaiming 2019 as the Year of the Veteran provides our state a timeless opportunity to honor our veterans for their service and sacrifice to the state and nation.”

Since taking office, the Hogan administration has established a proven track record of accomplishment on behalf of Maryland’s veterans. The administration also eliminated fees associated with veterans’ designation on driver’s licenses, disabled veteran vehicle plate registration, and Maryland state park admission. Additionally, the governor was instrumental in bringing permanent supportive housing for homeless veterans to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Perry Point Medical Center Campus.

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


Maryland is OPEN for Business. As a coordinating office for Governor Larry Hogan, the Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs connects small businesses, including those owned by minorities, women, and veterans to greater economic opportunities. Learn more by visiting our website at goMDsmallbiz.maryland.gov and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter @goMDsmallbiz.

02/21/2019 - Understanding Financial Statements
02/26/2019 - Proposal Writing Basics
02/26/2019 - MBE Rights & Responsibilities
02/27/2019 - Introduction to Federal Government Contracting
03/05/2019 - MBE Application Assistance Workshop (morning and evening sessions available)

LG Boyd Rutherford to Keynote our next Ready, Set, GROW! Workshop

Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford will be the keynote speaker at our Ready, Set, GROW! Procurement Connections Workshop on February 21st at CCBC's Essex Campus in Baltimore County. We'll be celebrating Black History Month and recognizing several outstanding local small business owners. Participants will learn how to do business with state agencies and county government offices then meet with these buyers. Small, minority, women, and veteran business owners are invited to attend this free event which includes access to a variety of small business resource partners who can help your small business grow. Seating is limited, so register today.

Ready, Set, GROW! Procurement Connections Workshop

State Nursery Has Trees Available for Spring Planting
Time is Now to Think Spring

Orders are still being taken for the spring 2019 planting season for shrubs and trees from the John S. Ayton State Tree Nursery, managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Read more.

Federal Partner News


Veterans Crisis Line 

Be a Hospice Volunteer at the VA Maryland Health Care System

Registration Now Open for National Veterans Wheelchair Games

Dundalk Vet Center Monthly Messenger

Navigating VA Health Care, Offered at Dundalk Vet Center starting Feb. 21st

Blue Water Vets Win in Court, FEDweek article

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

Veterans Court in Baltimore, Baltimore Jewish Times article


Save the Date: Sunday June 9th, 24th Annual MCVET 5K/10K Run/Walk


Voice of America segment on MCVET, (Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training)


Dog Tag, Inc. Summer Fellowship Application Now Open, Read More about Dog Tag Bakery


K9s for Warriors, Consumer Advocates article


DAV Mid-Winter Conference Event Alert:

Discussing Life Through the Lens of Women in America

Congressional Listening Session

 A.    Date:  Tuesday, February 26, 2019

 B.    Time: 8:00 am to 10:00 am EST

 C.    Location:Senate Dirksen Building 106/SVC, Rooms 202-203

 D.    Guest Speakers:  The keynote speaker for this event will be Senator Chris Van Hollen. Senator Van Hollen previously held an event in Maryland entitled, “Women Who Lead, Women Who Served.” A distinguished panel to be later announced will continue the discussion from the Telephone Town Hall Meeting. The newly elected women in Congress will be invited to participate in the discussion and engage attendees.

 E.     Purpose:To use this platform to hear from the public and urge support for legislation that supports women in general and women veterans in particular.

Questions should be directed to Dr. JoAnn Fisher, Department Adjutant, Department of the District of Columbia, Inc.  She can be reached directly at (240) 305-5516.

Community Calendar

February 16, 2019

19th Annual Buffalo Soldiers Banquet, Baltimore

February 21, 2019

How to Create a Side Business (and keep your day job), Baltimore

TechExpo Hiring Event, Poly-Only, Linthicum

DAV/Recruit Military Job Fair, Baltimore

February 23, 2019

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

February 26, 2019

VA Benefits Briefing, Temple Hills

February 27, 2019

Women Owned Small Business Certification, Columbia

February 28, 2019

TechExpo/Booze Allen Hamiliton Open House & Networking, TS/SCI or Above, Two locations: McLean, VA and Annapolis Junction


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


Gilchrist Invitation to March 30th Event:

Dear Veterans, Family Members and Friends of Veterans:      

We would be honored to have you join us for Gilchrist’s second annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Celebration on March 30, 2019.  Last year, we had over 750 people attend our inaugural celebration as our community came together to give a joyous welcome home to Vietnam veterans and to honor and remember all those Vietnam veterans who are no longer with us. For a glimpse of our welcome home celebration from last year, please take a few minutes to watch this video- https://vimeo.com/272446183

After our event, we heard: 

“After all these years, the words “thank you” and “welcome home” brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for making this happen.” 

“My first husband was a Vietnam combat veteran who is now deceased. [The celebration] helped me to heal.”

“That celebration will never be forgotten. I felt completely honored and appreciated for the sacrifices that we made, but [was] afraid to feel pride until your event.” 

“Being so good, how will you top next year?”

Gilchrist is a nonprofit organization that provides care, counseling and support for people with serious illnesses through the end of life. Nearly 12 percent of our hospice patients are veterans, and some of them served during the Vietnam era. Gilchrist’s Welcome Home celebration honors the veterans we serve each day as well as all the veterans in our community. 

This year our Welcome Home Celebration will be held on Saturday, March 30, 2019, at Martin’s West in Baltimore.  The ballroom will be open at 9:00am and brunch will be served.   The program is from 10:30am to 12 noon.  The event will be freefor veterans and their family members. We have some special Vietnam veterans who will be speaking at this year’s event and they include:     

   Senator John Astle, USMC-Marine helicopter pilot in Vietnam and Sponsor of the Maryland legislation establishing March 30 as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day in the state of Maryland

                1Lt. Diane Carlson Evans, USA-Army Nurse in Vietnam and Founder of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project.  She became the first woman in American history to spearhead a campaign to place a national  monument in Washington, D.C.  recognizing  the contribution of military women.  Here is a short video that captures her remarkable story.https://www.makers.com/profiles/5a02c6138827eb4f9a5c4492


                Captain Guy Gruters, USAF-(USAF)-Airforce pilot in Vietnam who flew more than 400 combat missions.  In 1967, he was shot down, captured, and imprisoned in the Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton) for over 5 years.  Here is a short video of  Diane Sawyer’s interview with Captain Gruters and 2 other Prisoners of War. https://abcnews.go.com/US/vietnam-pows-mark-40-years-freedom/story?id=19275515

If you attended last year, we hope to see you again.  If you have never been to this event before, we hope you will consider joining us for a celebration of service you won’t want to miss.  To register, please go to

https://www.gilchristcares.org/events/welcome-home-celebration/ or call Sara Boz at 443.849.8306 and she will be happy to help register you.   We look forward to seeing you on March 30th.