27 September 2019 MDVA News and Announcements

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  September 27, 2019


Spotlight on MDVA Staff - Russell Ware

Russell Ware photo

Secretary George Owings has requested that MDVA staff be highlighted in upcoming editions of the MDVA e-newsletter, so you learn a little bit about us and our commitment to serving Maryland Veterans. Today, we focus on Russell C. Ware, MDVA Director of the Cemetery & Memorials Program.  Russ provided the following information:

I have been in service to the public since I was a Texas volunteer firefighter in 1987. Immediately after graduating High School I joined the United States Air Force as a Security Policeman. After serving our country overseas and deploying to three wars and several humanitarian and other operations spanning 25 years, I retired from active duty. My wife and I moved back to Maryland where we met to start the next chapter in our life. I became a member of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs as the Assistant Director of Cemetery and Memorial Programs in 2016. The transition was a welcoming change that helped foster a family atmosphere. My wife and I became proud parents in 2016 and 2018 to two daughters. Managing the Maryland State Memorials, I have been able to incorporate my experience to improve the public view of our veteran memorials and strengthen the bond with local and military communities. Coordinating cleaning days with the military outreach programs and the community has bolstered the relationship between the two and improved the longevity of the veteran memorials. My hard work paid off when I was asked to take the position of Director for the Cemetery and Memorial Programs in early 2019. Since taking this position I have learned more about the operations of the five cemeteries and continued the relationship with the federal Veterans Affairs department to improve the well-being and quality of service to the veteran community of Maryland.

My family and I enjoy spending time together on trips around the country. We also spend time at historical venues teaching about medieval history through historical reenactment. I am an avid motorcycle rider, horse rider and as part of Maryland’s official sport I am a professional full contact jouster.

On September 12, 2019 a Veterans Claims Clinic & Resource Fair was held at American Legion Post 278, in Stevensville, MD.  This event was jointly sponsored by the Chesepeake Veterans Alliance, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs and American Legion Post 278.  145 veterans attended the event to file claims or ask questions of agencies and organizations attending.

Janice Chance Photo

The Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter also attended the Claims Clinic to support the veterans seeking assistance.  Shown in this photo are Ms. Gloria Crothers, MDVA Secretary George Owings, Ms. Deirdre McMahon and seated is Ms. Janice Chance, President and Chaplain of the Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter.

Ralph Stark photo

MDVA Secretary George Owings ran into a childhood friend, Mr. Ralph Stark and presented him with the Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin.  Both Secretary Owings and Mr. Stark are Vietnam Veterans.  The truck they are standing in front of belongs to Mr. Stark, who now resides in Florida, but was visiting friends in Maryland.

Mr. Norman Diggs photo

On September 20, 2019 a ceremony was held at the American Legion Cook-Pinkney Post 141 in Annapolis for POW/MIA Recognition Day.  Mr. James Diggs, who was held as a Prisoner of War for 33 months, was honored at the event.  In this photo, MDVA Secretary George Owings is presenting a Governor's Citation to Mr. Diggs and thanking him for his service to our nation.  At the event, Mr. Diggs was also interviewed for the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project.

POW/MIA at American Legion Post in Annapolis

This photo was also taken at the event held at American Legion Post 141 in Annapolis honoring former POW Norman Diggs. Shown in this photo are: Penny Collins, Commissioner on the Maryland Veterans Commission and also representing the Fleet Reserve Association, Mr. Howard Jim Gillis, President of the Montford Point Marine Association - Chapter 17, MDVA Secretary George Owings, Clarence "Tiger" Woods, former Maryland Delegate, Michael Barnes, Maryland Delegate - District 32, and Patrick Guibao, American Legion Legislative Officer

Dorchester County photo

Also in recognition of POW/MIAs, a Chair of Honor was dedicated at the Worcester County Veterans Memorial at Ocean Pines.  In this photo are: CSM James Nugent of the Maryland National Guard, Ms. Marie Gilmore, President of the Worcester County Veterans Memorial Foundation, Mr. Walter Webster who served in the United States Army, and is a former POW held in captivity, while serving in Korea, Senator Mary Beth Carozza and MDVA Secretary George Owings.

Patriot Point photo 1

The Maryland Veterans Home Commissioners had the opportunity to hold their quarterly meeting on September 19, 2019 at Patriot Point in Taylors Island, MD. While there, the Commissioners presented a Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin to Mr. Timothy A. Mitchell, a Vietnam Veteran and the property manager at Patriot Point. Pictured left to right are: Commissioner/Major General Andrew Anderson, Commissioner/ Lt. Col. Glenn Parker,  MDVA Deputy Secretary Robert Finn, Commissioner/Lt. Col. Rod Azama, Commissioner Gloria Larman, Chairman/Brigadier General Warner Sumpter, Commissioner Tom Davis, Timothy A. Mitchell, Commissioner Larry Weckbaugh,  MDVA Secretary George W. Owings, Commissioner Jason Franklin, Commissioner Gary Knight,  Michelle Cariaso, Quality Assurance Manager at Charlotte Hall Veterans Home, Rodney Jones, Deputy Director at Charlotte Hall Veterans Home, and Commissioner/Former Delegate John Wood. 

State Partner News

Spotlight on Education - Towson University

Towson University

The Military and Veterans Center is hosting an Open House on October 1st. The link to additional information is here.

TU's Annual Veterans Film Series - Contemporary Conflicts. We are featuring two documentaries and two feature films about military deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq and the effects it has on the military personnel. I'm quite proud of the selection this year. You can see the listing and times here

Maryland 211 has been updated.  Get Connected Here


What is the Census?

The U.S. Census Bureau conducts a count of every person living in the United States every 10 years, mandated by the U.S. Constitution in Article 1, Section 2.  The data collected by the decennial census determines the number of seats Maryland has in the U.S. House of Representatives and is also used to distribute billions in federal funds to its local communities. (See sample Census 2020 questionnaire)
  • It's Important
  • It's Easy
  • It's Safe
  • It's Right Around the Corner - April 1, 2020

The law requires the Census Bureau to keep all information confidential and use it only to
produce statistics.  

More Information


On Friday, September 20, 2019 the POW/MIA Flag is displayed at the Maryland State House for POW/MIA Recognition Day.

Federal Partner News

Captain Philip Brown Funeral Photo

On September 19, 2019 a funeral ceremony was held for Captain Phillip Lynn Brown, USA at the Baltimore National Cemetery.  Captain Brown served in the Vietnam War and was the recipient of the Bronze Star with "V" device, as well as the Purple Heart.  The ceremony was scheduled as an unaccompanied burial, which means there would be no family members present.  However, the Veterans Community stepped up, and over 300 attended the service for Captain Brown.  MDVA Secretary George Owings and Deputy Secretary Robert Finn, both Vietnam Veterans themselves, attended the ceremony.

VBA is Hiring

Find a local Veteran sports team in your community

Team Red, White & Blue App - Find Free Veteran Events in Your Community

Insomnia, Treatment and finding a path to better sleep

National Resource Directory

AARP Military Caregiving Guide

Supporting Military & Veteran Caregivers in the Workplace

American Red Cross Military & Veteran Caregiver Network

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

Vet Arts Connect -

Explore our ever-growing list of arts and nature programs. All are available to Maryland veterans at no cost.

Do you want to hear about new programs? Sign up to receive monthly updates.

Goodwill and Platoon 22 Announce Joint Venture - Veterans Center, Frederick News-Post article


Apply Now for Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program for Winter 2020


AMVETS in Partnership with Lowe's is offering scholarships and Veteranpreneur Grants.  Read More Here

Community Calendar

September 27, 2019

Veteran Resource Day, Morningside

September 28, 2019

Veteran Home Buyer Boot Camp, Annapolis

September 29, 2019

Blue Mass, Sponsored by Maryland Catholic War Veterans, Baltimore

Last Vet Motorsports Event of the Year, Kentland

October 3, 2019

How to Have an Awesome First Appointment, Project Opportunity, Salisbury

Southern Maryland Veterans Collaborative, Charlotte Hall

October 5, 2019

Veterans Resource Fair, Prince Frederick

VETOGA 4th Annual Fundraising Gala, Alexandria, VA

October 6, 2019

VAREP Annual Charity Veteran Fundraiser, Annapolis

October 7, 2019

Voices of Vets 2nd Annual Voice Raiser, Columbia

October 8, 2019

The Nuts & Bolts of Starting a Business, Silver Spring

October 9, 2019

How Credit Works and Why it Matters to Starting a Business?, Baltimore

Budgeting & Debt Management Seminar, Silver Spring

October 10, 2019

Employer Workshop, Becoming Veteran Friendly, Salisbury

Ft. Meade SFL-TAP Employer Hiring Day, Ft. Meade

October 11, 2019

Veteran Authors Book Signing Event, Berlin

October 12, 2019

Intensive Military and Veterans Writing Workshop, Salisbury, Note: Workshop continues on October 13th.

Art with a Heart Workshop, Silver Spring

October 14, 2019

U. S. Army Women's Foundation, Celebrating Women in the Army, Washington, DC

October 15, 2019

2019 County Executive's Small Business Summit, Jessup

October 16, 2018

Eastpoint Workforce Center Job Fair, Baltimore

Branding Essentials: How to Create an Appealing Brand, Baltimore

October 17, 2019

TechExpo Polygraph Only Hiring Event, Linthicum

Smart Start Your Own Business, Bowie

October 19, 2019

Maryland Veterans Resource Fair, Oxon Hill

October 22, 2019

5th Annual Veterans Stand Down, La Plata

October 23, 2019

Pro Bono Advice-A-Thon, Annapolis

October 25, 2019

Welcome Luncheon for AMVETS National Commander, Bolling Officers Club

October 26, 2019

2019 Buffalo Soldiers Fall Event, Waldorf

October 29, 2019

Home Education & Literacy Program (HELP), Ft. Meade