14 February 2020 MDVA News and Announcements

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  February 14, 2020


2020 is the Year of the Woman in Maryland

Danielle Dabrowski

Governor Larry Hogan has proclaimed 2020 to be the Year of the Woman in Maryland.

MDVA will be highlighting the dedicated women in Maryland who volunteer to serve on state commissions which support Maryland Veterans in this and future editions of the e-newsletter.

To begin this series, Commissioner Danielle Dabrowski who serves on the Maryland College Collaboration for Student Veterans Commission is featured.  Danielle provided the following information:

Danielle Dabrowski is the Director of Veterans Services at Frostburg State University (FSU). She serves as the School Certifying Official and Director of the Veterans Center. Danielle  has a B.S.B.A and Master of Science Degree from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. She has worked at FSU for 5 years and previously was employed by Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and has been working with veterans and their dependents since 2001. She also serves as the treasurer on the executive board for the National Association of Veterans Program Administrators (NAVPA).

Thank you Danielle, for your support of the student veterans and dependents at Frostburg State University and for your national service on NAVPA.

Jackie Kimball

Mrs. Jackie Kimball, the Chair of the Veterans & Family Support Committee of the Department of Maryland VFW Auxiliary presents two checks to Sharon Murphy, Director of Charlotte Hall Veterans Home.  One of the checks was from the Department of Maryland VFW Auxiliary and the other from VFW Post 8276 Auxiliary.  Thank you to all the members and supporters of the VFW Auxiliary for your very generous donations.

Carol Lewis

Ms. Kathleen Quade, President of American Legion Post 82 Auxiliary presents a check for $10,000 to Carole Lewis, for the purchase of Broda chairs to aid in mobility for Charlotte Hall residents.  This is the second recent donation from the American Legion Post 82 Auxiliary.  The members contributed $5,000 for the purchase of wheelchairs in June 2019.  Accepting the donation is Carole Lewis, Director of Marketing at Charlotte Hall Veterans Home, but Carole is also a proud member of the Post 82 Auxiliary.

Janice Chance

Maryland Gold Star Moms, Kelly Swanson (left) and Janice Chance (right) present a donation to Geneice Boone at Charlotte Hall Veterans Home.  While visiting Charlotte Hall, the Gold Star Mothers also presented their Vietnam Challenge Coins and offered the Gold Star Mom's Salute to residents.  Mrs. Chance is the president of the Maryland Gold Star Mothers.

George and George

Always on the look out for Vietnam Veterans, MDVA Secretary George Owings, "pinned" Mr. George Nassif with the Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin at Chick and Ruth's Delly in Annapolis.

State Partner News

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

Upgrades Coming to Maryland Park Service Reservation Site

Park Service


The Maryland Park Service will unveil a new version of its online reservation system Feb. 13, with new features that will make it easier for customers and park staff to use. 

 Read more.

Reprinted from Maryland Park Service Newsletter


Maryland Small Business Events & Trainings

Don't get stuck in the office all winter. Most business development events and training 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:

02/19/2020 - Show Me the Money
02/25/2020 - State Procurement 101
02/25/2020 - Perfecting Your Capability Statement
02/26/2020 - Understanding SEO

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

University of Maryland Study

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.

Federal Partner News

Federal News

Census is Hiring

Census: A Full 2020 Census Count of Military Service Members and Families is Important to Their Communities

VA actively recruits military spouses for careers serving Veterans

Disabled Veteran Access to PX and Commissary and Caregiver Support Line - Video

Veterans Healing Veterans Scholarship provides medical education for veterans

Registration Open for 2020 National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic

Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act Passed into Law

Beginning  January 1, 2020, the Department of Veterans of Affairs in accordance to The Blue Water Navy (BWN) Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 (PL 116-23) extended the presumption of herbicide exposure, such as Agent Orange, to Veterans who served in the offshore waters of the Republic of Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 begin processing claims for veterans who served on Navy vessels off the shores in Vietnam, you do not have to prove that you served the 12 nautical miles offshore of the Republic of Vietnam, the Veterans Benefits Administration will take care of this when you file your benefits claims. 

If you were denied a claim, you must refile, because the law requires claimants to receive back pay based on the date you file the original claim.

If you are a surviving spouse, child, or parent of a service member who died in the line of duty, or the survivor of a Veteran who died from a service-related injury or illness, you may be able to get a tax-free monetary benefit called VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation and you were denied your Blue Water Navy Veteran’s service-connected disability claim in the past, you may be eligible for DIC benefits based on the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019.


If you have question about this or any other VA Compensation or Pension questions, please contact the MDVA Service and Benefits office on 1-800-446-4926.

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

Brigadier General Charles E. McGee (Ret), a World War II Veteran and member of the Tuskegee Airmen participated in the coin toss ceremony at the 2020 Super Bowl. Baltimore Sun Article


Save the Date: March 10, 2020, Maryland Veterans Chamber of Commerce Inaugural Ceremony, Flier and More Information


Save the Date: Beginning March 18, 2020 Project Opportunity Free Entrepreneur Training for Veterans, Largo


Save the Date: Light of the Darkness Concert to benefit blinded veterans, Annandale, VA More Information


Save the Date: March 30, 2020 Hope & Healing for Heroes, A Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event, Edgewater


Save the Date: June 7, 2020 - MCVET 5k/10k Race & Walk

Calling Post-9/11 female veterans: Could you benefit from increased personal resilience? Are you ready to work on career and professional goals? Apply for After Her Service, a resiliency skills and career coaching program for Post-9/11 female veterans.  The next weekend retreat will take place on May 1-3, in San Antonio, TX. All expenses for the weekend and coaching are covered. Applications are due Monday, March 23rd Visit www.AfterHerService.org  to learn more and apply! #AfterHerService

Melwood Veterans Services is holding its SECOND Men's Retreat for Military Sexual Trauma Survivors March 23 - 27,2020.

We have 3 openings for this retreat.  It is open to veterans of all eras from across the country. This is a free program and transportation to the DC area will be provided.

Veterans with a BCD or Dishonorable discharge can be approved to attend on a case-by-case basis.  Apply     Website 


The VA Way is a Veteran owned and operated organization committed to raising the Mental Health IQ in our community; to raise awareness and shatter debilitating stigmas of mental illness in order to cultivate an atmosphere of understanding and support our troops and SAVE LIVES

On average 22 Veterans die by SUICIDE each DAY. This number has barely changed for over a decade. What is less known is that 14 out of 22 (64%) did not receive any help. 
We aim to reach that 64% and offer them life-saving mental health training and support.
We offer Mental Health First Aid Training  to Veterans, Active Duty and their families as well as to civilians. 
What is Mental Health First Aid? 
Just as CPR helps someone assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid teaches people to assist someone experiencing a mental health or substance use-related crisis. In the Mental Health First Aid course, participants learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help.
Who should take the training? 
  • Veterans, Active Duty, and their families
  • Base Personnel
  • Teachers
  • Educators
  • Employers
  • Government Contractors
  • Government Employees
  • Concerned Individuals
For more information on Mental Health First Aid training download our flier or visit www.vaway.org
To sign up for our next class or schedule one for your small group or business email founder of VA Way John Way.
We also offer therapeutic services such as Yoga Therapy, Reiki and Sound Healing with Veteran practitioners at the The Om Collective 

Community Calendar

February 18, 2020

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

February 19, 2020

WOSB/EDWOSB Certification Workshop for Government Contracts, Baltimore

Small Business Cyber Security Basics, Frederick

February 20, 2020

Hearing Loss Association of AmericaOut of Darkness: The Connection between Hearing Loss, Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder, Baltimore

Smart Start Your Business Workshop, Bowie

February 22, 2020

2020 Marathon Bluegrass Jam Maryland

Shrimp & Barbeque Fundraiser to benefit local Veteran assistance programs and home ownership efforts in Annapolis

February 25, 2020

Developing and Writing a Business Plan, Baltimore

February 26, 2020

Top Secret Hiring Event & Networking Reception, Linthicum

Trademark Basics: What Every Small Business Should Know Now, Not Later, Germantown

February 27, 2020

Developing & Writing the Business Plan, Bowie

SEO-Local Search Engine Optimization for your Business, Frederick

March 10, 2020

Maryland Veterans Chamber of Commerce Inaugural Ceremony, Annapolis, Flier and More Information


Photos from Around the State

Charles Lancaster

Maryland Veterans Commissioner Penny Collins (right), represented MDVA and participated in a ceremony honoring Captain Charles H Lancaster, USA (ret).  Captain Lancaster served in World War II in the 371st Infantry Regiment.  He was awarded both the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

Captain Lancaster continued his public service after he left active duty by becoming a professional firefighter.  He also owned and operated a gas station in Fairmont Heights.

Commissioner Penny Collins also represented the Department at an Open House for a Habitat for Humanity Universal Design Home in Fairmont Heights.  Shown with Commissioner Collins is Mr. John Paukstis, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland.  Mr. Paukstis is happy to report this first Universal Design Home will be the new residence of a Navy veteran.

John Paukstis

Fisher House

American Legion Stallings-Williams Post 206 makes a $100,000 donation to Fisher House located at Joint Base Andrews. From Right to left: MDVA Secretary George Owings (a Post 206 member), Suzanne Curren, President of JB Andrews Fisher House Inc., AlTraveese Young, Assistant Manager for JB Andrews Fisher House, Post 206 Commander Les Griffith, Lt. Colonel Veronica Harris, USAF (ret) and Manager JB Andrews Fisher House, and former Post 206 Commander Pat McCoy, who now serves as Post 206 Executive Committeewoman/National Executive Committeewoman.  This donation presentation was held on Feb. 2, 2020 at Post 206 in Chesapeake Beach.