6 December 2019 MDVA News and Announcements

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  December 6, 2019


Spotlight on MDVA Staff - Phillip Munley

Phil Munley 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 Phillip Munley, Director of the MDVA Service & Benefits Program.

Phil has been the Director of the Service & Benefits Program since 2011.  He leads a staff of 22 to serve over 700,000 Maryland veterans, their dependents, and surviving spouses.  In 2018 the program generated just under 5,000 disability compensation and pension claims for Maryland veterans to the US Department of Veterans Affairs.  These awards are estimated to have generated a spending impact of over 100 million dollars.

Prior to working for MDVA, Phil served in the US Navy where he retired after 21 years.  Additionally he served as the Contra Costa County Veteran Service Officer in Martinez, CA for 10 years.

Phil has been married to his wife Kelly for 38 years.  They have three adult daughters and five grandchildren.  In his spare time, he enjoys coaching youth basketball in the Westminster girls’ basketball program.

VSS Training

Dana Burl, Director of the MDVA Outreach & Advocacy Program leads a training program for the Maryland Veterans Services Specialist Program (VSS).  All Maryland State Government Departments and Agencies have a Veterans Services Specialist (VSS) or “liaison” who can provide general information to State employees who have served in the military or who have family members who have served in the military with information on veteran-related resources.  They can also answer general questions citizens may have about these resources.  The Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) Outreach and Advocacy Program works alongside liaisons to share information and improve veteran services coordination.

Warrior Canine II

MDVA Deputy Secretary Robert Finn and Dana Burl Director of MDVA Outreach & Advocacy present a check to Emily McNeal, a representative from Warrior Canine Connection.  Read more about the Maryland Veterans Service Animal Program.

Hero Dogs Presentation

A check was also presented to Stacey Niebur and Beverly Simons, representatives from Hero Dogs.

State Partner News

‘Gift of Trees’ Can Last for Generations

Tree Seedling photo

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources offers holiday shoppers the opportunity to give a lasting legacy. The Gift of Trees is a program where Marylanders purchase native trees — either a single tree or a grove of 10 trees — for planting in honor of a celebration, commemoration, or observation.

A Gift of Trees certificate suitable for framing will be issued and mailed out within a week or two of an order. All trees will be planted in the next growing season – either spring or fall – to promote optimal growth and survival. Orders must be placed by Dec. 17 to ensure certificate delivery in time for the holidays.

For orders received through Dec. 6, additional savings apply.

All trees will be planted in locations that will benefit from them the most, including parks, playgrounds and schoolyards; cities and towns; and along creeks and streams. Maryland Forest Service staff help choose the appropriate location and species to best assure the tree flourishes well into the future.

Trees can be ordered online or via mail (a separate order form should be used for each recipient) along with a check made payable to: Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Forest Service, Tawes State Office Building, E-1, Annapolis, Maryland 21401.

Photo: White oak seedlings at John S. Ayton State Tree Nursery

Maryland Department of Natural Resources Offers Resources to Veterans

Check out this Veterans Day Post from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Goodwill Groundbreaking

Goodwill Industries of Monacacy Valley and Platoon 22 have partnered to build a facility that will house both Goodwill Headquarters and a Veteran Service Center in Frederick.  Participating in the ground-breaking ceremony were, left to right: Danny Severan, Director of Development, St. Johns Properties, Joe Silhavy, Chair, Goodwill Industries Board of Directors, Danny Farrar, CEO/Co-Founder, Platoon 22, Jennifer Farrar, Co-Founder, Platoon 22, Michael Meyer, CEO, Goodwill Industries, MDVA Secretary George Owings, Secretary Kelly Schulz, Maryland Department of Commerce, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner, Joe Donegan, Vice Chair, Goodwill Industries Board of Directors,  Maryland State Senator Ron Young

Federal Partner News

Tomorrow, December 7th is National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.  The National Park Service has a page where you may view multiple previous Pearl Harbor Commemorations.

Enroll in VA Health Care

VA VISN 5 Logo

Do you know a Veteran in Maryland who hasn't enrolled in VA health care? Or do you know someone who is enrolled but whose income or status has changed? With services from hearing aids to hypertension, and treatments for everything from COPD to PTSD, the VA wants to make sure that all eligible Veterans get the low- to no-cost benefits they’ve earned, no matter when they served. Eligible veterans can also use VA health care in addition to any coverage they already have — and retirees can enroll in VA and keep their Medicare coverage. Find out more today. Visit our site to learn about services available, Maryland locations, and how to apply


National Resource Directory

VA Services for Women Veterans - Video

VA - Yes, You Can Prevent Diabetes

VA Online Health Library

National Center for PTSD

Veterans Need a Veterans Health Identification Card for In-Person Access to Commissary, PX and MWR

New VA Disability Rates

How Do I Take the 2020 Census? Video

Information from the Historic Baltimore National Cemetery Complex

The Wreaths Across America event is scheduled for Saturday, December 14th at 12 noon at both Baltimore and Annapolis National Cemeteries. For both events we recommend you arrive a little early. In Annapolis, there is no parking at the cemetery so you’ll have use public parking options and walk to the cemetery. At Baltimore, we have up to 500 cars parking on the cemetery grounds so it’s best to arrive early and follow the instructions from the staff on where to park.

There are two other opportunities to volunteer for Wreaths Across America. 

  • Sometime the week prior to December 14th, the boxes with the wreaths are delivered. We can always use a helping hand downloading the trucks and setting the boxes up to support the main event.
  • Our post-holiday clean-up event will be Friday, January 17th at 8:00 am at both Baltimore and Annapolis Cemeteries.

To be in the loop for updated information on the wreath delivery and more do one or more of the following:

  • Go to www.wreathsacrossamerica.org and look up the specific cemetery you want to volunteer at and click on the volunteer link. (You do not need to register as a volunteer just to help place wreaths on December 14th
  • Go on Facebook and like, follow and share the Wreaths Across America – Baltimore National Cemetery page (@wreathsacrossamericabaltimorenationalcemetery)
  • Go on Facebook and like, follow and share the Baltimore National Cemetery page (@NatCemBaltimore)*

* if you like, follow and share the Baltimore National Cemetery’s Facebook page (@NatCemBaltimore) you’ll get updates on events and other information about the cemetery year round.

For more information, don’t hesitate to contact the cemetery staff at 410-644-9696.


Mike Brophy

Michael D. Brophy


Historic Baltimore National Cemetery Complex


Saturday, January 25, 2020 (8:00a.m. – 2:00p.m.)

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC)

50 Irving St NW, Washington, DC 20422

The 2020 ‘Walk In Their Foot Steps’ New Boot/Shoe Collection Campaign, to benefit homeless/disabled military veterans and family members, will ‘Kick-Off’ on Monday, December 2, 2019

This unique partnership which includes the HUD Veterans Affinity Group (VAG), the HUD District of Columbia Field Office, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Technatomy, Inc, NGEN, Inc., and the National Football League Retired Players Association (NFLRPA) (Washington DC Chapter) will Officially ‘Kick-Off’ the 2020 ‘Walk In Their Foot Steps’ New Boot & Shoe Collection for Homeless Veterans and their families, in support of the 2020 United States Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) Winter Haven/Stand Down scheduled for Saturday, January 25, 2020, at the VAMC located at: 50 Irving Street, N.W., Washington, DC.   

The Winterhaven-Homeless Veterans Stand-Down event offers our homeless veterans a warm meal, clothing, and sorely needed clinical and social services absolutely free of charge.  Nadeem Butler, CEO of Technatomy explains. ‘Yet, it’s the new pairs of boots distributed t each of these heroes that are seemingly most anticipated and appreciated each year.  Participation in this campaign is a special way of positively impacting lives and giving comfort to those who’ve served our country.’  

Collection Bins will be located at: 451 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20410, and 820 First Street, N.E., Washington, DC 20002 (LOBBY)

No CASH Donations will be Accepted – ‘In-Kind’ Donations Only

If you are interested in participating/donating to this campaign please contact Natalie Bishop-Hodge at: 202-402-3132, or: Natalie.R.Bishop-Hodge@hud.gov   

Stand Down Video

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

Save the Date: January 22, 2020 Project Opportunity will hold an Information and Orientation session in Annapolis.  Note: Project Opportunity has received funding to train Military Spouses in Spring 2020.  Read More Here

Project Opportunity Howard County Training


Women Veterans United Committee, Inc. (WVUCI) is proud to announce its annual Michael "Maddog" Sater Flame of Hope Contest sponsored by the Joint Veterans Committee of Maryland, NABVETS, and the Buffalo Soldiers. Read More Here


Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) Entrepreneurship and Small Business Programs at Syracuse University is hosting the 3rd Annual Veteran EDGE Conference in Dallas, March 5-8, 2020. In its third year, this first-of-its-kind conference seeks to propel growing veteran and military spouse owned businesses by offering entrepreneurial education, training, resources, and networking. The cost to attend is only $150 registration fee and travel expenses. IVMF will cover the cost of the hotel during the nights of the event (3/5, 3/6, 3/7). Apply


Melwood Veterans Services is proud to announce that it will be conducting a SECOND Men's Retreat for Military Sexual Trauma Survivors March 23 - 27, 2020. The eight men who went through in September had a great experience.  More Information


Learn More About the Maryland Voices Oral History Projectmdhumanities.org


Veterans Book Groups in Spring 2020Schedule


The Mission Continues Women Veterans Leadership Program


Community Calendar

December 7, 2019

World War II Veterans Eat Free on Pearl Harbor Day at Mission BBQ

December 10, 2019

Ready, Set, Grow Procurement Connections Workshop for Small Businesses, Baltimore

December 11, 2019

2019 Veteran's Legislative Summit, Annapolis

December 14, 2019

National Wreaths Across America Day

December 20, 2019

Charlotte Hall Holiday Bazaar

January 16, 2020

100th Anniversary of VFW Post 327, Lansdowne