11 October 2019 MDVA News and Announcments

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  October 11, 2019


Spotlight on MDVA Staff - Sharon Murphy

Sharon Murphy 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 Sharon Murphy,  Director of Charlotte Hall Veterans Home.  

Sharon Murphy began her State career in July 1984 when she joined the small staff at Charlotte Hall Veterans Home as the Assistant to the Commandant.  She was one of the first staff hired to prepare for the opening of the veteran's home. In her more than 34 years at Charlotte Hall she has been an integral part in the operation and expansion of the Home, watching it grow from 4 residents and 20 staff, to the current occupancy of 410 residents and over 500 employees. Since Charlotte Hall first opened on January 29, 1985 over 6,000 veterans have been admitted.

In June 2008, Sharon accepted the position of Director, Veterans Home Program. As Director, she is responsible for daily monitoring of the operation of the facility to ensure contract compliance with Federal, State and local regulations and to provide oversight of resident care, fiscal management and support services. Sharon is responsible for preparing and administering the Home’s annual operating budget and capital improvement projects.  She serves as the on-site advocate for residents and responds to inquires by residents, family and elected officials.  She is actively involved in the marketing of the home and maintains liaisons with veteran and community organizations locally and statewide to promote the awareness of Charlotte Hall Veterans Home and the services it provides. 

Sharon resides in Southern Maryland, near the farm where she grew up. She loves spending time with her children, grandchildren, family and friends.  Sharon enjoys being on the water, traveling and searching for sea glass along the Patuxent River.

We are very fortunate to have Sharon working for MDVA and caring for Maryland's Veterans.

Vietnam Veterans memorial photo

On October 2, 2019 State Employees joined together for a Day to Serve. The project this year was the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in South Baltimore.  The Memorial is managed by the MDVA Cemetery & Memorials program.  The day turned out to be the hottest on record for that date, but that did not deter all of these individuals from working to clean and landscape the Memorial.  Thank you to all who worked so hard in the heat. WBAL TV Report

Message from MDVA Secretary George Owings:

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Dana Burl, Outreach Director and Russell Ware, Cemetery and Memorial Program Director, all the volunteers, Veteran Service Specialist Program liaisons, and MDVA Memorial Program Staff, who came out October 2 in the 95 degree weather to repair and improve the grounds of the Maryland Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

One hundred volunteers from 10 different state agencies were in attendance.  Volunteers helped spread mulch, pull weeds, repair flower boxes and trim bushes and trees.
I'd also like to thank Rachelina Bonacci from Maryland Stadium Authority and Carole Gentry from Maryland Lottery for coordinating this effort, along with personnel from the Department of Commerce.  Veteran Service Specialist Program liaisons in attendance were Gordon Outlaw from the Department of Housing & Community Development, James Butler from Lottery, Ryan Lancaster from Human Services, Bridgette Lundfelt from the Governor's Office of Community Iniatives, Reed Cornell from Maryland Emergency Management Agency, and Michelle Bell from Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Ssystems.
Thanks to other state agencies who are volunteering at other veteran related programs during this time.  
On behalf of MDVA, thank you again.
George Owings

Eagle Scout Project

Eagle Scout Isaac Beltran, completed his final project at the Gold Star Families Monument.  Isaac organized the design, fundraising, collection of materials, labor and installation of 1500 square feet of sod at the Monument. He is a Scout with the Seneca District of the National Capital Area Council.  Shown in this photo from left to right are: Mrs. Faith Beltran, Isaac, his brother Sam, and MDVA Secretary George Owings.  Not Shown: Mr. Daniel Beltran, Isaac's father.

Delegate Rogers

Correction: In the September 27, 2019 edition of the MDVA e-newsletter, one of the individuals in the photo to the left was misidentified.  Maryland Delegate Mike Rogers - District 32 is second from the right in this photo.  Colonel Rogers retired from the United States Army 2015, and now continues his public service as an elected official in Maryland State Government. Sincere apologies to Delegate Rogers for the error.

State Partner News

New Signage at the World War II Memorial and Gold Star Families Monument

WWII Overlook Photo

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) has updated the signage at the Maryland World War II Memorial and Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in Annapolis.

While MDVA manages the two Memorials, we are dependent on the State Highway Administration (SHA) for improvements such as signage.  Thank you to the folks at SHA for the three new signs guiding visitors to the site.

Also at this location is the Governor Ritchie Scenic Overlook, which is managed by SHA.

Please stop by and visit the Memorials the next time you are in the Annapolis area.


Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs

Most training and business development programs take place outside the office. We maintain a robust calendar of events on our website. It's updated regularly, so be sure to check back often. Here are just a few upcoming events:

10/15/2019 - Howard County Executive's 2019 Small Business Summit
10/18/2019 - Ready, Set, GROW! Allegany County
10/22/2019 - Queen Anne's County Business Success Roundtable
10/22/2019 - Small Business Marketing Techniques
10/22/2019 - Understanding Prevailing & Living Wage Laws
10/29/2019 - 2019 Entrepreneur Expo (TEDCO)

Check out our full range of small business events
online at goMDsmallbiz.maryland.gov.

MVA Reminds You of Real ID Countdown

Tuesday, October 1, 2019 marked the one-year countdown to the federal REAL ID deadline. The REAL ID Act is a federal law that establishes specific minimum federal standards for state-issued driver's licenses and ID cards to be accepted for certain federal purposes, like entering a federal building or boarding a domestic commercial flight. Enforcement of the REAL ID Act begins on October 1, 2020. For more information on REAL ID visit www.mva.maryland.gov/realid.

University of Maryland School of Medicine

Have you experienced a traumatic event in your life? Do thoughts about this experience affect you now? Do you use alcohol to get relief? We are conducting a research study of a medication that may help people who have experienced a traumatic event feel better and drink less. Traumatic events are things like physical or sexual assault, war zone exposure, serious accidents, and natural disasters. To learn more, go to: http://www.rethinkyourdrinking.org/, email us at rethinkyourdrinking@som.umaryland.edu, or contact us by phone (410) 402-6412.

Tree-Mendous Maryland Orders Being Accepted

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources aims to expand tree cover on public lands across the state, offering affordable and attractive trees for planting on community lands and open space through its Tree-Mendous Maryland program. New this year, the department is offering high quality, native shrubs and trees, which are grown and provided by American Native Plants in Baltimore County.

“Autumn is a great time to plant native species because shrubbery and trees can survive and thrive over the winter months,” Maryland Forest Service Director Don VanHassent said. “There is certainly affordable, attractive, and beneficial greenery for every public property and space among our diverse and robust offerings.”

Church, civic, community, and school groups; homeowners associations; local governments; nonprofits; and others are eligible to purchase plantings from the Tree-Mendous program, as long as the shrubs and trees are planted on community and public land with prior approval from the landowner. Order today!

To save on delivery fees, communities and nonprofits that order now can also pick their trees up at several sites in October: Greenbrier State Park Oct. 17; Cedarville State Forest Oct. 22 or Tuckahoe State Park Oct. 24. Recipients can also pick their orders up at American Native Plants in Baltimore County, which grows and provides the trees, throughout the season.

Since starting Tree-Mendous Maryland in 1989, the Maryland Forest Service has assisted more than 3,000 groups and organizations with plantings. Tens of thousands of shrubs and trees have been planted in communities, parks, schools, squares, and towns across the state. Trees beautify the landscape, clean and filter air and water, and provide essential habitat for wildlife.

Federal Partner News

Blue Star Memorial Markers added to National Cemeteries in Maryland

Blue Star Marker

We will have three dedication ceremonies in the month of October for the marker signs. One at each of the National Cemeteries. We invite everyone to join us.

Michael D. Brophy


Historic Baltimore National Cemetery Complex

October 1, 2019 at Baltimore National Cemetery- COMPLETED



Tuesday, October 15th at 11:00 am                 

Loudon Park National Cemetery               

3445 Frederick Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21229

The ceremony will take place in the small parking lot adjacent to the lodge.

Parking – there is no parking in the cemetery. Please park along Frederick Avenue and walk to the cemetery.

Wednesday, October 23rd at 11:00 am          

Annapolis National Cemetery                    

800 West Street, Annapolis, MD 21401

The ceremony will take place in the small parking lot adjacent to the lodge

Parking – there is no parking in the cemetery. Please utilize the local parking garages and walk to the cemetery.

All three events have been posted on the official Baltimore National Cemetery Facebook page @NatCemBaltimore. If you haven’t already, please like, follow, and share the page!

If you have any questions, please contact the cemetery staff at 410-644-9696.



United States Census Information

Women Veterans Transitioning from the Military, Military.com article

VA Releases Survivors Quick Start Guide

VA Shares Electronic Health Records

Free Flu Shots to VA Health Care Enrolled Veterans at Walgreens

Survey for former and current Student Veterans

AMTRAK offers discount to Veterans

Dr. Fisher photo

The Congressional Black Caucus presented Veteran Leaders from around the nation a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for Outstanding Achievement, Service and Public Distinction.  The Certificates were signed by Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA), Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX), and Congressman Anthony Brown (MD).  Shown in this photo are two Veterans from Maryland with their Awards: Ms. Brenda Jamison and Dr. JoAnn Fisher.

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

Voices of Vets Video

Maryland Therapeutic Riding Video

Veteran Institute for Procurement (VIP) now accepting applications

Winter Coat Drive for Veterans, Silver Spring

Warrior Canine Connection 7-week Training Course, Silver Spring

Call for Submissions: Veterans Art Show, Frederick

Participants Needed for Research Study - Training Service Dogs

Global Good Fund - Final Call for Applications

Blankets for Homeless Drive, Baltimore

Save the Date - June 7, 2020 - MCVET's 25th Annual 5k/10k Race & Walk

Free Veterans Legal Clinic, Every Wednesday, Silver Spring

Hero Dogs, Inc. places service dogs with veterans and first-responders with disabilities. We also place skilled home companion dogs with veteran and first-responder families. 

To qualify for a dog:
* You must be a veteran of the U.S. Uniformed Services with an honorable or general (under honorable conditions) discharge. Discharges other than honorable will be considered on a case by case basis. First responders must have an equivalent, verifiable service record.
* You must be released from all military and reserve obligations.
* You must have a disability as defined by the ADA, i.e. a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a history or record of such an impairment, or be perceived by others as having such an impairment. Note that your disability does not need to be service connected and we do not require any minimum VA disability rating.
* You must live within 50 miles or approximately one hour’s travel time of Hero Dogs (Brookeville, MD), and be able to provide your own transportation.
* If your disability includes PTSD or any other psychiatric disability, you must currently be in counseling, and must remain in mental health treatment for the duration of your matching and training with Hero Dogs.
If you meet these basic criteria, please visit our Applicants page to see the rest of the requirements and request an application. If you do NOT meet these eligibility criteria, please visit Assistance Dogs International, Inc. (ADI) to locate a service dog agency that places dogs in your area or nationally. ADI is a coalition of not-for-profit organizations that train and place service, guide, and hearing dogs.
Contact Hero Dogs, Inc. at 888-570-8653 or via e-mail to applicant@hero-dogs.org.

Texas Roadhouse is partnering with Homes for our Troops to raise money for veterans. Homes for our Troops build and donate specially adapted custom homes nationwide for severely injured post-9/11 veterans, to enable them to rebuild their lives.

Come in to any of the listed Texas Roadhouse locations Wednesday, Oct. 2 - Tuesday, Oct. 29 and donate $5 or more to receive a free appetizer voucher for your next visit. 100% of the proceeds will be donated.

Participating locations:
- Beckley, WV
- Bowie, MD
- Concordville, PA
- Dundalk, MD
- Frederick, MD
- Hagerstown, MD
- Hunt Valley, MD
- Pasadena, MD
- Westminster, MD
- White Marsh, MD

Community Calendar

October 11, 2019

Veteran Authors Book Signing Event, Berlin

VA Claim Assistance by DAV, Frederick

Autumn Glory Vet Fest, Garrett College Special Events Center, McHenry

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

Warriors to the Workforce, also 10/15 and 10/16, Washington, DC

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

Veterans Leadership Meeting, Annapolis

2019 Buffalo Soldiers Fall Event, Waldorf

Veteran Homebuyers Bootcamp, Annapolis

Diffusing Anger Workshop, Silver Spring.

October 27, 2019

Introduction to Hero Dogs, Location TBD

October 29, 2019

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

November 1, 2019

Liberty American Job Center Career Fair & Resources, Randallstown

Military Mental First Aid Training, Baltimore

VA Disability Claims Service, Annapolis

November 2, 2019

Eastern Shore Stand Down, Salisbury

5th Annual Stars, Stripes & Chow, (Chili Edition) Benefiting Baltimore Station, Baltimore


Photos from Around the State


Randy Nye photo

A Veterans Resource Fair was held recently in Calvert County.  In this photo, Mr. Randy Nye who served in the United States Navy from 1974 until 1980 receives a Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin, from David Galloway.  Mr. Galloway, who now works with Maryland's Commitment to Veterans, served in the United States Marine Corps.

Jack Fringel photo

MDVA Secretary George Owings "pins" Mr. Jack Fringel with the Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin at the Calvert County Veteran Resource Fair held on Saturday, October 5th.  Mr. Fringel served in Vietnam on active duty in the United States Army from 1966 until 1967.

Calvert County Veteran Resource fair

At the closing ceremony for the Calvert County Resource Fair, MDVA Secretary Owings presents the Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin, to all Vietnam and Vietnam-Era Veterans attending the ceremony.