17 January 2020 MDVA News and Announcements

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  January 17, 2020


Charlotte Hall Veterans Home

Maryland Flag logo


Leading up to the holidays, we acknowledged and thanked some of the large donors who contributed items for the residents at Charlotte Hall Veterans Home.

We also want to thank those individuals who volunteer their time, volunteer their talents and who make individual donations to brighten the days of the veterans and spouses who reside at Charlotte Hall.  Your dedication is appreciated, and you help us serve those who served.

Charlotte Hall Shopping Day photo

Shopping Day at Charlotte Hall  - In December, the first "Shopping Day" was held for residents.  These photos show just a partial selection of all the new items donated to make the residents more comfortable and to provide gifts they might not be able to afford to purchase for themselves.  Residents were able to select items for their own use, or to give as a gift to a family member.  Being able to "shop" for the free items, adds to the fun. Thank you to everyone who donated personal items for the residents.  This event was such a success, it will be scheduled every year.

Charlotte Hall Shopping Day II

State Partner News

Governor Photo

Governor Hogan Announces Military Initiatives at National Guard Armory

Governor Larry Hogan  announced new military initiatives at the Joint Force Headquarters, Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore. These initiatives include a package of legislation that will expand tuition assistance for Maryland National Guard members, provide tax relief for military retirees, and reform occupational licensing laws to create jobs and boost opportunities for military families. The governor was joined by Maryland Adjutant General Major General Timothy E. Gowen, Maryland Secretary of Veterans Affairs George Owings III, and Maryland Secretary of Labor Tiffany Robinson.

“Last month, we wrapped up our celebration of 2019 as the Year of the Veteran in Maryland, but we can never do enough to raise awareness—every year should be a year to show our appreciation for the brave service and sacrifice our United States veterans and families have made for Maryland and for our nation,” said Governor Hogan. “With the legislation we are introducing today, we are continuing to demonstrate our strong support for our military retirees, active duty military personnel and their families, and for our National Guard soldiers and airmen.”

Maryland is home to 370,000 veterans, 29,000 active duty military personnel, 19,000 reservists, and nearly 6,000 members of our National Guard.

Read More Here including, this news:

New Veterans Affairs Service Offices

The Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs has partnered with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration to house local veterans service offices within regional MVAs. This is a first of its kind partnership that will allow greater visibility to veterans and provide easier access to services for veterans and their families. Since its opening in October, the office in Glen Burnie has made contact with more than 1,000 veterans and closed more than 100 cases. We are opening additional offices in Salisbury, Hagerstown, and Bel Air.

Proposed Hometown Heroes Act of 2020

Governor and Secretary Owings

Governor Hogan and MDVA Secretary George Owings at the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore

Photo Credits: Executive Office of the Governor

2020 Session of the Maryland General Assembly has Convened

The Maryland General Assembly is currently meeting in Annapolis for the 2020 Legislative Session.  As a service to the veteran community, information on proposed legislation of possible interest to veterans is provided below:

2020 Legislative Information

You may check the status of proposed legislation by visiting the:

Maryland General Assembly Website

Maryland national Guard photo

This week, Governor Hogan and Lt. Governor Rutherford also met the Maryland National Guard 244th Engineer Company and welcomed them home upon arrival at BWI Thurgood Marshall airport.  Photo Credit: Executive Office of the Governor

Spotlight on Education: University of Maryland Global Campus

UMGC logo

UMGC sponsors a scholarship in partnership with the National Military Family Association, and the scholarship covers all costs of pursuing an undergraduate or a graduate degree at UMGC.  The scholarship is available for caregivers of either veterans or service members who are wounded or injured, or become ill, in the line-of-duty (the caregivers must be designated as such by the VA, or, in the case of service members, be appointed as a DoD non-medical attendant (NMA).  We are accepting applications thru March 15, 2020, and details on how to apply are contained in the flier.


Record Participants Hike in New Year Across Maryland
First Day Hikes Kick Off 2020

About 5,000 hikers took advantage of sunny and mild weather New Year’s Day, joining the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in the state’s annual First Day Hikes initiative. Hikers logged more than 10,000 miles on trails in parks and public lands all across Maryland. Read more.

DNR: Need seedlings?

The state tree nursery is accepting orders for the 2020 spring planting season. Whether you want to reforest timberland or create a windbreak, improve wildlife habitat or just enjoy the feeling of planting trees, the nursery can provide the trees you need!

DNR: Need Firewood?

Firewood Permits for Sale at Cunningham Falls and Gambrill 
Low-Cost Wood Source Helps Remove Hazards from State Parks

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources offers firewood cutting permits at two state parks in Frederick County, providing a great opportunity for the public to pick up some easily accessible firewood. The $20 permit allows citizens to remove downed trees from designated wood-cutting areas. Read more.


Federal Partner News

VA Maryland Health Care System Update

If you are enrolled in the VA Maryland Health Care System, you may be receiving a post card, with the following information - and if you are able, please consider volunteering to help your fellow veterans:

Dear VA Maryland Health Care System Veteran Patient:

This is the time of year when we’re still considering our New Year’s resolutions.  If one of your resolutions is to be more active in your community, we have the perfect opportunity for you. As a veteran who receives their care at the Baltimore VA Medical Center, you may have been assisted at some point by one of our caring and dedicated VA volunteers.  What you probably didn’t realize is that over 75 percent of our volunteers are Veterans who receive their care at the Baltimore VA Medical Center or another VA Maryland Health Care System facility.  Most are volunteers because they want to support their fellow comrades or to give back in appreciation for the care they have received from the VA. 

I am writing to encourage you to consider becoming a volunteer at the Baltimore VA Medical Center.  As a volunteer, you can:

  • support the needs of your fellow veterans
  • obtain new job skills
  • make new friends
  • be a part of an incredible team of caring and dedicated individuals
  • make a difference by giving back to others

We currently have several meaningful and rewarding volunteer assignments available at the Baltimore VA Medical Center, including the Coffee Station, Escort Service, Greeter Program, Patient Visitation, Veteran Transportation, and many more.  Volunteer assignments are predominately available Monday – Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To apply to be a VA volunteer, call 410-605-7100 or visit www.maryland.va.gov and click on “Volunteer or Donate” on the left side of the landing page.  Once you get to the “Volunteer or Donate” page, click on “How Do I Get Started?” under the purple “Volunteer” button.

Thank you for your service, and for considering supporting your fellow comrades as a VA volunteer.


Adam M. Robinson, Jr., M.D.

Director, VA Maryland Health Care System

(36th SG US NAVY VADM, MC, USN-Retired)

Federal News of Interest:

VA Tackles Medical Device Vulnerabilities and Cyber Threats

Cervical Cancer Screenings for Women Veterans

Which VA Life Insurance program is Best for You

Free Braille and Talking Book Program for Veterans

How are College Students Counted in the 2020 Census

Vet Center Outreach in Howard County

January 10 thru March 27 – Veterans Outreach Center at Howard County libraries. Drop in to speak with the Department of Veterans Affairs Outreach Team from the Vet Center in Baltimore. Receive information and assistance with:

  • Readjustment Counseling • VA Healthcare • Benefits • Cemetery programs.

HCLS CENTRAL BRANCH (410.313.7800)

Fridays Jan 10, Feb 14, Mar 13 10 am - 3 pm


Fridays Jan 17, Feb 21, Mar 20 10 am - 3 pm


Fri, Jan 24; Wed, Feb 26; Fri, Mar 27 10 am - 3 pm

HCLS SAVAGE BRANCH (410.313.0760)

Wed, Jan 8; Fri, Feb 7; Fri, Mar 6 10 am - 3 pm

Are you a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one? 

Did you know that VA offers same day services in Primary Care and Mental Health at 172 VA Medical Centers across the country? Make the Connection Resource Locator

Contact the Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 and press 1, Chat, or Text 838255.)

News from the Historic Baltimore National Cemetery Complex

Happy New Year! I want to thank everyone for their support in making 2019 a successful year at the Historic Baltimore National Cemetery Complex. We had record attendance at the Memorial Day and Wreaths Across America events as well as our Unaccompanied Veteran Service. The projects continue to make great progress. The renovation of the exterior of the Administration Building and the new Committal Shelter for Baltimore NC should both be complete by the spring. With the new columbarium in place we reversed a declining burial rate, conducting the most burials in the last 5 years. In 2019, the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) competed in the American Customer Service Index and not only finished #1 for the 8th straight time, but also set the ACSI record high score of 97. We continue to strive to live up to the highest expectations of our Veteran community in the burial services we provide. It was a good year. Thank you for your support.

We want to say farewell to our Foreman, Mr. Jimmie Hargrave, who will retire after over 38 years of Federal Service on January 6th. Jimmie served 7 years in the Army before joining the NCA. He has been a Veteran serving Veterans ever since and we are proud to have had the opportunity to work along side him. We wish him all the best in a well-deserved retirement.

I have attached the initial issue of the 2020 Events Calendar for the complex. We hope to see you this year at some of our events starting with our post-holiday and Wreaths Across America cleanup on Friday, January 17th (Baltimore NC and Loudon Park NC) and on Saturday, January 18th (Annapolis NC).

If you have questions about any of our events, would like to sponsor / host an event, or want to set up a volunteer activity for your group, please contact me or Sandra LaRochelle, the HBNCC Assistant Director, at 410-644-9696.

All events will also be posted on the Baltimore National Cemetery Facebook page @NatCemBaltimore. (https://www.facebook.com/NatCemBaltimore/) Please like, follow and share!


Mike Brophy

Michael D. Brophy


Historic Baltimore National Cemetery Complex

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: Saturday, February 22, 2020 Marathon Bluegrass Jam Maryland, Severn, Benefits Fisher House


Save the Date: Saturday, March 22, 2020, Gilchrist's 3rd Annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration, Baltimore


Art with a Heart 2020 Workshops, Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Easterseals, Silver Sprin, FLIER


Free Yoga for Veterans and Military Families, 2020 Schedule, Silver Spring


Dog Tag, Inc., now accepting applications for Summer 2020 Fellowship


Community Calendar

January 17, 2020

The Mission Continues Bringing in 2020 Social, Halethorpe

January 18, 2020

The Mission Continues - Lend A Helping Hand, Havre de Grace

January 22, 2020

Project Opportunity: Spouse Entrepreneurship Course, Annapolis

January 25, 2020

2020 Winter Haven/Stand Down, Washington, DC VA Medical Center, 8:00 am until 2:00 pm

Veterans Leadership Meeting II, Annapolis

Mindful Yoga, 10:00 am at VFW Post 9619, 6527 Suitland Road, Morningside, MD

January 28, 2020

JobZone Job Fair,  Patuxent River

Introduction to Exporting 101: From Your Door to the World, Baltimore

Prime Contracting in the Small Business Reserve (SBR) Program, Crownsville

MBE Rights & Responsibilities, Crownsville

January 30, 2020

Job Zone Job Fair, Joint Base Andrews

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

February 4, 2020

Ready, Set, Grow, Silver Spring

February 18, 2020

Project Opportunity - Free Entrepreneur Training, "Record Keeping for Small Business", Columbia, Flier

February 22, 2020

2020 Marathon Bluegrass Jam Maryland


The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Easterseals - Our Care at a Glance


  • Confidential, high quality behavioral healthcare services
  • Individual (children & adults), couples and family counseling
  • Case management resource referrals
  • Low wait times
  • Medication management
  • Care regardless of a veteran’s discharge status
  • Telehealth options for DC, Maryland and Virginia residents



Veterans who served in the United States Armed Services, including the National Guard and Reserves, regardless of role while in uniform, combat experience or discharge status.


Active duty, National Guard, Reserves and veterans’ spouses or partners, dating partners, children, parents, caregivers and others.


We treat a wide variety of mental health issues including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, adjustment issues, anger, grief and loss, family issues, couples issues, transition challenges, relationship problems, and children’s therapy services.


  • Free childcare, free parking and metro accessible
  • Telehealth options
  • Personalized treatment
  • Resource referrals
  • Confidential


Monday               8:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Tuesday               8:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Wednesday       8:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Thursday             8:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Friday                    8:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Saturday              9:00 AM to 1:00 PM (Second and Fourth Saturday each month)

Contact US or Schedule an appointment

Call: 240-847-7500                           Email: info.mfc@eseal.org                              Website: mfc.eseal.org

Address: 1420 Spring St. Silver Spring, MD, 20910

Want to Collaborate with us? Contact our clinic Outreach Manager: Mallary Lass      mlass@eseal.org



Every First and Third Tuesday of Each Month

January 7, 2020 and January 21, 2020 @ 9 – 11am – Puppy Office Hours Come meet and play with Florence, a service dog in training who was named for Navy Lieutenant Florence Choe. Warrior Canine Connection enlists Service Members and Veterans with combat stress in the critical mission of training service dogs for fellow Wounded Warriors. It takes a community of dedicated individuals to train, care for and love these dogs.


Wednesday, January 22, 2020 @ 6 – 7pm– Prudential Financial Wellness Class

Take charge of your financial wellness! We're partnering with Prudential to host a One-hour Educational Seminar called "Is Your Financial House In Order?" on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 from 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM at The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Easterseals. This seminar will cover important topics like: 🔹 Assessing your current financial situation 🔹 Setting financial priorities and managing debt 🔹 Protecting yourself and your assets

Registration Required: https://www.cvent.com/events/is-your-financial-house-in-order-/registration-1c25d2c0e7c54794a2a5aab39a8736fd.aspx?fqp=true


Last Wednesday of Each Month

January 29, 2020 @ 630pm – Yoga with Warriors at Ease 

Join us for free yoga at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Easterseals! Warriors at Ease integrates yoga and meditation into military and civilian settings to support the health, resiliency,

post-traumatic growth and connection of veterans and their families. All poses can be modified for people of all abilities.

Research shows that these practices can:

🔹 Improve one’s response to stress

🔹 Reduce sensation of chronic pain

🔹 Improve quality of sleep

🔹 Create a sense of calm in body & mind

Fourth Saturday of Each Month

February 27, 2020 @ 10am – Art with Heart Event

Beginning in February our clinic will host monthly art projects with educational teachings. Engaging in art allows individuals to work on self-expression to enjoy the calmness created through your art. With each Art with Heart event we will have a quest speaker to talk about health and wellness in our daily lives.

Some of our speakers include:

🔹 The American Red Cross

🔹 Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC)

Register for ANY of these events by contacting the clinic at

(240) 847-7500 or sending an email to info.mfc@eseal.org

Introduction to Hero Dogs

Date & Time: Sunday, February 9th, 3:00 - 5:00 PM

Location: Brookeville, MD



This presentation is for anyone who is interested in learning more about Hero Dogs, whether as a potential applicant, volunteer, donor, or other supporter.


Would you like to learn more about Hero Dogs? Are you interested in volunteering*? Are you a veteran or first responder who may be interested in applying to receive a service dog?

The first hour of the presentation will include:

  • Mission and background of Hero Dogs,
  • Overview of Hero Dogs programs,
  • Live demonstration of service dog skills, and
  • Outline of volunteer opportunities

Then we will break for a tour of the facility. Those interested in applying for a service dog, their family members and other advocates, and anyone interested in learning more about partnering with a service dog should plan to stay for the second half of the presentation which will include:

  • The Hero Dogs application process
  • Team training
  • Living with a service dog
  • Q & A

*All Hero Dogs volunteers and potential volunteers should attend this session at least once. This is also a great event for youth groups to attend to learn about service dogs.

Please note: directions to the facility will be e-mailed on the Friday before the event to those who have registered. 

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.


Fox News Story:

Hello Veteran Family,

‘Will you be his Valentine?

A 104-year-old World War II veteran hopes to receive plenty of Valentine’s Day cards this year, to add to his collection of keepsakes documenting his own incredible life and times.

Maj. Bill White served in the Marine Corps during World War II and survived the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945, Fox 40 reports. One of White’s most cherished medals is his Purple Heart, which is awarded to those who were wounded or killed in action.’  “The fact that I even survived is something. There weren’t too many of us,” White recalled.

California WWII veteran, 104 and a former Marine, asks for Valentine's Day cards: 'I'll save every one'.


Valentine’s Day cards for Maj. White can be sent to:

Operation Valentine, ATTN: Hold for Maj Bill White, USMC (Ret), The Oaks at Inglewood, 6725 Inglewood Ave., Stockton, CA 95207