29 March 2019 MDVA News and Announcements

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maryland department of veterans affairs

News and Announcements  -  March 29, 2019

National Vietnam War Veterans Day


Hero Dogs

Pictured above: Ms. Nikki Charles, Executive Director, Hero Dogs, Inc; Ms. Dana Burl, MDVA Director of Outreach and Advocacy, Dr. Jennifer Lund, Ph.D., Founder and Program Director, Hero Dogs, Inc., Maryland State Senator Bryan Simonaire, MDVA Secretary George Owings,and MDVA Deputy Secretary Robert Finn.

Photo Credit: Issac Simonaire

Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs Awards First Service Animal Program Fund Grant

20th Logo

Joined by Maryland Senator Bryan Simonaire (District 31, Anne Arundel County) Hero Dogs Founder Jennifer Lund, and Hero Dogs Executive Director Nikki Charles, Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary George Owings awarded the first Maryland Veterans Service Animal Program Fund Grant.  Joining the small gathering of staff from Hero Dogs was Robert Finn, Deputy Secretary and Dana Burl, Director of Outreach and Advocacy for Maryland’s Department of Veterans Affairs.  The $10,000 grant was the first one awarded since the Program became law.     

During the 2017 Maryland Legislative Session, SB441 created the Maryland Veterans Service Animal Program and Fund in the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs.  Introduced by Senator Simonaire and approved by Governor Hogan on May 4, the Program took effect July 1, 2017.  The Governor in 2018 also appropriated $150,000 in general funds for the Fund.  Three service animal organizations are now participating in the program: Hero Dogs, Warrior Canine Connection and Fidos for Freedom.  Each of the programs may receive grants for pairing eligible veterans with service animals once they are trained and ready for placement.  The Program also raises awareness of the benefits service animals provide to military veterans.

“Our administration is committed to ensuring Maryland’s veterans have access to the resources they need to successfully transition to civilian life,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “We are proud to support organizations like Hero Dogs, who work tirelessly to improve the quality of life for our nation’s heroes - our veterans.”   

"As the son of a veteran, I so appreciate the tireless work of Hero Dogs and the Department of Veterans Affairs," said Senator Bryan Simonaire.  "In an area where the need far exceeds the resources, this wonderful partnership provides more help to our heroic and vulnerable veterans."

“Service animals can provide support and improved quality of life to a veteran living with disabilities,” said George Owings, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs.  “On behalf of Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs, I am pleased to thank Hero Dogs and award them with this grant.”

“With this generous grant, the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs continues to illustrate its commitment to innovative and effective programs,” said Hero Dogs Executive Director Nikki Charles.  “These programs help alleviate the challenges experienced by those who have sacrificed so much.”

To learn more about the Maryland Veterans Service Animal Program and Fund please contact Dana Burl, Outreach Director, Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs at dana.burl@maryland.gov or 410-260-3842.

The Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs is a State Government Executive Department with a service mission to assist veterans, active duty service members, their families and dependents, in securing benefits earned through military service.  Learn more about the Department at veterans.maryland.gov.


Home Commission

On Wednesday March 20, 2019 the Maryland Veterans Home Commission held their quarterly meeting at Charlotte Hall Veterans Home. General Andrew H. Anderson was recognized for his 30 years of dedicated service to the Commission with a Governors Citation. Thank you to General Anderson for your continued support to Maryland Veterans and the residents of Charlotte Hall Veterans Home!.

Pictured left to right: Former Maryland State Delegate John Wood, Commissioner LTC Glynn Parker, Commissioner, Jason Parker, Commissioner, Gloria Larman, Commissioner, Gary Knight, Chairman & Secretary of Commission, MDVA Secretary George Owings, General Andrew Anderson, Commissioner, Sharon Murphy, Director Charlotte Hall Veterans Home, General Warner Sumpter, Chairman of Commission, Katie Smith, Commissioner, and Tom Davis, Commissioner

State Partner News

Warrior Music Foundation

The Warrior Music Foundation was recently awarded the William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award. The William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award is presented by the Comptroller to the individuals and organizations in each county and Baltimore City best exemplifying William Donald Schaefer’s lifelong commitment to helping people. 

Warrior Music Foundation brief summary of services:
- Warrior Music Foundation provides free music lessons and free music therapy to active duty military, veterans and their families.
- All of our programs are governed by our board-certified music therapy team.
- We currently offer music lessons and music therapy in Millersville and Towson.
- We have 25 students enrolled in the program at various stages.  Those students represent active duty, veterans and dependents.
- To enroll, prospective students can apply at www.warriormusicfoundation.org/apply
- Our board is composed of former military, professional musicians, music educators, philanthropists, national security experts and entrepreneurs. 
Shown in photo from left to right: Justin Smith (WMF Treasurer); G. Frederick Robinson (Bowie Mayor); Ann Brennan (WMF Director); Larry Shotter (WMF Director), Michael Caimona (WMF Founder and President); Peter Franchot (Maryland Comptroller); Rob Wall (WMF Vice President); Cereta A. Lee (PG Country Register of Wills); Robert Finn (MDVA Deputy Director)

American Legion

The Centennial of the American Legion was recognized on the floor of the Maryland State Senate.

American Legion Aux

Following the the American Legion recognition on the Senate floor, this photo was taken.  From left to right: Maryland State Senator Arthur Ellis, Kathy Dungan, American Legion Auxiliary National President,  Sandi Dutton, who formerly served as both the American Legion Auxiliary National President and the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Maryland President, Linda Sarkisian, American Legion Auxiliary Department of Maryland President, and MDVA Secretary George Owings. 

General Singh

General Linda Singh received a House Resolution on behalf of the Maryland National Guard for being the first and only state Guard Command in the country to have an all female leadership team. This presentation was part of the celebration of Women Veterans Day by the Maryland General Assembly.

Photo Credit: Rhodes Whitehill


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: Anne Arundel Community College

Anne Arundel Community College’s School of Health Sciences will be hosting an Open House on Saturday, April 27th from 10:00am to noon in the Florestano Building of Anne Arundel Community College.  Visit the School of Health Sciences and learn about our programs, specifically our Veterans Counseling Certificate.


Learn More: https://catalog.aacc.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=23&poid=8030


Free Seedlings for St. Mary’s County Backyard Buffers

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering free tree seedlings to St. Mary’s County landowners who have a creek, drainage ditch, stream or other waterway on or near their property through the Backyard Buffers program.

Trees and shrubs planted along waterways help improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients, lowering peak water temperatures, reducing sediment and stabilizing stream banks.

Plantings can be ordered in small bundles of 9 seedlings and large bundles of 15 seedlings, with species including chestnut oak, gray dogwood, northern red oak, red bud and white oak.

Maryland Forest Service staff will provide information on tree maintenance and planting techniques, in addition to suggestions of other suitable native species at the time of pickup. 

Quantities are limited so reservations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Bundles can be reserved by contacting Nicole Basenback at 301-475-4484 or by email at nicoleb@umd.edu.

Pickup will be Saturday, April 20 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Agriculture Service Center, University of Maryland Extension St. Mary’s office, 26737 Radio Station Way, Suite C in Leonardtown.

Federal Partner News

Today is 2019 National Vietnam Veterans Day

April 3-7 The traveling photography exhibit, Warriors,Tattoos and the Stories They Tell will be on display at Perry Point, April 3-7 in the lobby of Building 366.

Webinar, April 4th - A Workshop for Veteran and Military Families: Babies on the Homefront,

VA Video - Learn More About Hepatitis C and Treatment

Nicole Jones & Peer Support Specialist John Hollands talk about Suicide prevention on WMAR2News

VA Gulf War Study Research Seeking Volunteers


A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the new VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) which recently opened in Baltimore County.  Shown from left to right are:

  • Brad Kroner, Representing Baltimore County Executive John A. Olszewski, Jr.;
  • Councilwoman Cathy Bevins from District 6 in Baltimore County;
  • State Delegate Harry Bhandari from District 8;
  • Bart Kennedy, Representing Senator Chris Van Hollen;
  • Michael Baker, Representing Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger;
  • Dr. Adam M. Robinson, Jr., Director of the VA Maryland Health Care System;
  • George W. Owings, III, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs;
  • Jerome Stephens, Representing Senator Ben Cardin; and
  • State Delegate Joseph C. Boteler, III, from District 8

Photo credit: Jordan Denner

Ray Glock

Another photo taken at the new VA CBOC ribbon-cutting.  From left to right: MDVA Secretary George Owings, Marilyn Baldwin, Janice Chance, President of the Maryland Gold Star Mothers and Raymond Glock, former Maryland Veterans Commissioner.

The Manassas National Battlefield Park is offering an apprenticeship program for Post 9/11 Veterans ages 18-35 years of age. 

If you know of any veterans who may be interested in an Apprenticeship Opportunity, please pass this information on to them.  The National Park Service wants to get the word out, and promote this opportunity.

For More Information

Request from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs:

Because the GI Bill has impacted the lives of millions of Veterans, the VA invites Veterans to share their GI Bill Story.

  1. Here’s How: Record a Video using your cell phone and answer the following questions:
  1. What’s your name?
  2. How did you utilize the GI Bill?
  3. How has it impacted your life?
  4. Post the video to the following link: https://fs9.formsite.com/gibill75th/fizrlbbyvo/index.html
  1. Additional GI Bill Information:
  1. https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/75th-anniversary.asp
  2. Dr. Lawrence shares his GI Bill Story at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNPynKVMsRc&index=1&list=PLrrh23QvVVYioDz3rsduLFKtBzEPyO_4r

Community Partner News

MoCo Commission Meeting

MDVA Secretary George Owings attended a meeting of the Montgomery County Veterans Commission last week.  Secretary Owings and Mr. Phillip Munley, Director of the MDVA Service and Benefits Progam briefed the County Commissioners on services offered by MDVA.

From left to right in this photo: Mike Subin, Office of the Montgomery County Executive, Secretary Owings, Dan Bullis, Chair of Commission and Wayne Miller, Vice Chair of Commission.

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.

Welcome Home Vietnam Veteran Events in March and April


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

Sunday, April 28, 2019, Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans and Vietnam Era Veterans, Indian Head


Community News

Veterans Curation Project

We are currently seeking candidates for our next session beginning May 6th. We are looking for both full-time and part-time technicians. Please share the attached hiring flier with anyone you think may be interested in our program. Here is a link to our application along with more information: https://veteranscurationprogram.org/how-to-apply/

Save the Date: May 23, 2019, Grant Writing Lunch and Learn, Salisbury


Save the Date: June 7,  June 9, and June 10, 2019, American Legion Riders Maryland Gold Star Legacy Run, Multiple locations around the state


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


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


The Dog Tag Fellowship is OPEN for applications, but not for much longer!  Deadline is April 1st


Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, NY offers tuition-free Master of Science Degree for Veterans interested in teaching Mathematics.  Read more here


Community Calendar

March 30, 2019

The American Legion, Randolph Furey Post 170, 100th Birthday Celebration, Accokeek

April 4-5, 2019

Free Dental Care for Easter Shore Veterans, Pre-Registration Needed, Eastern Shore Mission of Mercy

April 8, 2019

Homeownership Education & Literacy Program Training, Ft. Meade

April 10, 2019

Federal Hiring Process Workshop, Randallstown

April 13, 2019

Anne Arundel County Caregiver's Conference, Hanover

Veterans Housing Summit, Crofton

Run as One, sponsored by Team Rubicon, The Mission Continues, Team Red, White and Blue and more... Multiple locations

Team River Runner Southern Maryland Chapter Meet and Greet, Charlotte Hall

April 17, 2019

50th Anniversary of Susquehanna Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, Edgewood

TechExpo Hiring Event, Linthicum, Must have CI of Full-Scope Poly to attend

April 18, 2019

Ft. Meade SFL-TAP Hiring Event, McGill Training Center, Ft. Meade

April 22, 2019

Ready, Set, Grow Training for Small Business Procurement, Hanover

April 23, 2019

Job Zone Job Fair, Lexington Park

April 25, 2019

Job Zone Job Fair, Joint Base Andrews

April 27, 2019

Annual Disabled Veterans Fishing Outing, Cumberland

Military Veterans EXPO2019, Annapolis

Black Diamond Disaster - The Forgotten Tragedy on the Potomac, Coltons Point