13 March 2020 MDVA News and Announcements

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  March 13, 2020


2020 is the Year of the Woman in Maryland

Kristin Byerly

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 continue this series, Commissioner Kristin Byerly  who serves on the Maryland College Collaboration for Student Veterans Commission is featured.  Kristin provided the following information:

Kristin Byerly is the Director of Veterans Initiatives for University of Maryland Global Campus' Stateside Military Operations Division. The position includes nationwide oversight of programs within UMGC, implementation of new programs, and collaboration with other agencies and services, that directly benefit UMGC’s veteran population.  She received a B.A. from University of Phoenix and an M.B.A. from University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC). After obtaining over 1000 volunteer hours with the Navy Marine Corp Relief Society while traveling the world as an active duty spouse, she joined UMGC as an advisor in Hampton Roads VA in 2013. Kristin states her path has allowed the privilege of serving all aspects of our Military Affiliated community, in a direct one on one capacity. As a US Navy brat, spouse and mom, her entire life has been spent working with and for this incredible community.

Cemetery photo

More of the hardworking MDVA Cemetery & Memorials staff have been recognized with cold weather jackets, pins and certificates for their dedicated years of service.  In this photo are, from left to right: Shawn Treherne (5 years of service), Ronald Miller (5 years of service), Jamaine Palmer (5 years of service) and Harry Harvey (15 years of service).

2nd cemetery photo

In this photo are: Bruce Webster, Superintendent of the MDVA eastern shore cemetery, George McCracken (23 years of service), Russ Ware, Director of MDVA Cemetery & Memorials Program, and Brandon Fitzhugh (10 years of service).

MDVA has the deepest appreciation for all of the Cemetery and Memorials staff who report to work in all kinds of weather conditions to ensure that the final resting places for Maryland veterans are treated with honor, that funerals proceed as scheduled and that the Memorials are well maintained.

MDVA Opens NEW Service & Benefits Office in Salisbury

Last week, MDVA held a joint Ribbon Cutting with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) to celebrate the opening of the newest MDVA office.  Veterans and dependents visiting the MDVA office formerly located in downtown Salisbury had to dodge construction and complete for parking spaces to meet with MDVA staff member, Michelle Licata.  The new location at 251 Tilghman Road inside the MVA building, has plenty of parking and is accessible.  Please call and schedule an appointment to visit the office.  The office number is (410) 219-7256.


MDVA Salisbury Office Ribbon Cutting

Pinning Ceremony

The first veteran to visit the MDVA Salisbury office after the ribbon cutting was Mr. Neil Keddie, a Vietnam Veteran.  It was discovered that Mr. Keddie had never received the  Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin.  In this photo are from left to right: Maryland Veterans Commissioner Thomas Kimball holding the Commemorative Certificate, Mr. Keddie, Maryland Veterans Commissioner Joe Smith who is pinning Mr. Keddie and MDVA Deputy Secretary Robert Finn.

In Memorium: It is with sadness we report the passing of Commissioner Larry Weckbaugh who served on the Maryland Home Commission.  Mr. Weckbaugh was a veteran of the United States Navy and more information may be found in his Obituary.  Commissioner Weckbaugh's family has asked that memorial contributions in his memory be made to Charlotte Hall Veterans Home for specialty wheelchairs.

State Partner News

Maryland Department of Health: COVID - 19 Updates

Visit the Maryland Department of Health for updated information.

Governor Hogan Comment: Census - Your Civic Duty video

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

Women Veterans Day at the Maryland General Assembly

Ms. Bailey

MDVA Secretary George Owings speaks with World War II Veteran Vivian "Millie" Bailey at Women Veterans Day at the Maryland General Assembly.  Ms. Bailey is 102 years young, and served as a 1st Lieutenant in the Women's Army Corps (WAC).  

House Floor

Women Veterans join Legislators on the House floor.  Photo Credit: Julie M. Bryson

Del. Chang

Maryland Delegate Mark Chang and MDVA Secretary George Owings speak with legislators regarding HB0032, legislation proposed by Delegate Chang which would establish July 27th as Welcome Home Korean War Veterans Day.

Legislation is being considered this session of the Maryland General Assembly to establish Tuskegee Airmen Commemoration Day: (HB0726) and (SB0020).  Below are several photos of those attending the hearing.

Commissioner Killebrew

In this photo from left to right are: MDVA Secretary George Owings, Mr. Major Anderson, an original Tukeegee Airman, who just celebrated his 95th birthday, and Mr. Franklin Killebrew, who serves on the Maryland Veterans Commission.

MDVA Secretary George Owings and Mr.William Ritchie, 2nd Vice President and Public Information Officer of the DC Society Sons of the American Revolution.

Airmen event
Deborah Keith

Ms. Deborah Keith, Executive Director of the East Coast Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. and Secretary George Owings. Two of Ms. Keith's uncles were Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen (DOTA). Lt. Col John "Ellis" Edwards and Lt. Jerome T. Edwards both from Steubenville, Ohio.

Ms. Keith provided the following:

John Ellis was the fighter pilot of the 332 of the 99th that shot down two German 109 planes and flew over Rometillie Italy, South Africa and Japan. He received several oak leaf clusters and the Distinguished Medal of Honor. In Steubenville, Ohio this May they have commissioned a Resolution to have A Tuskegee Day named on behalf of the two brothers.

Veteran Chamber of Commerce

The Maryland Veterans Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors held a kick-off event at the Maryland General Assembly this week. For more information: www.mdvcc.org

Chamber III

Major Emmett Roberts, USA (Ret) on the left is the Founder, President and CEO of the Maryland Veterans Chamber of Commerce.  Next to Major Roberts is Maryland Delegate C. T. Wilson and on the right is MDVA Secretary George Owings.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources Annual Photo Contest Now Taking Submissions
2020 Contest Runs Through Aug. 31

Photographers, novice or professional, can enter for the chance to win cash and other great prizes. Winning entries will be posted online, featured in an issue of the Maryland Natural Resource magazine, and placed in the 2021 wall calendar. Read more.

Federal Partner News

Federal News

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. Health.mil article

2020 Census: Reaching Out to Young People

For Employers: 2020 Hire Vets Medallion Award Application Now Open

VA Mission Act: Urgent Care Benefit

Free Audio Books for Veterans with Disabilities

Situation Update: VA Maryland Health Care System

VA Updates on Corona Virus

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: Sunday, June 7, 2020 - MCVET 5K/10K


Partners in Care introduces Veterans Helping Veterans Initiative - More Information Veteran volunteers needed.

Why should I consider attending:
  • Increase morale of fellow veterans
  • Shared experiences of military service
  • Shared culture
  • Community of brotherhood
  • We stick together through thick and thin "leaving no one behind.'' 
Take a look. Share with fellow veterans/organizations who might want to volunteer. 
              RSVP is very important

Hospice of the Chesapeake is partnering with the Veterans Health Administration’s Annapolis Vet Center to offer a free monthly opportunity for military veterans to socialize with other veterans.

The Vet to Vet Café will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on the third Saturday of each month at the Annapolis Vet Center at 100 Annapolis St. The inaugural gathering will take place on March 21. All veterans are invited to enjoy the coffee, pastries and the kind of camaraderie that is common among men and women who have served in the military.  The cafes have been growing in popularity, thanks in a large part to the We Honor Veterans program, which was launched by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Department of Veterans Affairs launched in 2010 to address the growing need for Veteran-centered care. Hospice of the Chesapeake has been a partner since the program’s inception.

For details, call the center at 410-605-7826.

Community Calendar

NOTE: Some of the events below may have been cancelled after this e-newsletter was written.  Please check with organizer/contact before attending.

March 18, 2020

Project Opportunity - Free Entrepreneur Training for Veterans, Largo (10 week course)

March 19, 2020

CANCELLED: Veterans Claims Clinic & Resource Fair, Westminster

Multi-Department Hiring Event, Town of Ocean City

March 21, 2020

Vet Cafe, Annapolis Vet Center, call 410-605-7826 for more info

March 22, 2020

CANCELLED: Gilchrist's 3rd Annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day, Baltimore

March 24, 2020

One Stop Reentry Resource Fair, Baltimore

March 27, 2020

Howard Community College Spring Job Fair, Columbia

March 29, 2020

Catholic War Veterans & Auxiliary Commemoration Mass for Vietnam Veterans and Family, Baltimore, More Information

March 30, 2020

CANCELLED: Hope and Healing for Heroes. A Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans, sponsored by Hospice of the Chesapeake, Edgewater

April 1, 2020

Free Dental Clinic, Baltimore

April 4, 2020

Veterans' Motorcycle Charity Ride/Community Day, Clinton

April 18, 2020

DAV 7th Annual Veterans Information & Benefits Seminar, Essex

April 21, 2020

Howard County Veterans & Military Families Resource Fair and Celebration, Columbia


Photos from Around the State


Women Veterans Day

Women Veterans Day at the Maryland General Assembly: Ms. Michelle Terry, Outreach Program Manager for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Women Veterans, Maryland Senator Mary Beth Carozza and Denise Nooe, MDVA Deputy Director for Outreach

Mr. Antione Waller, Director of the Baltimore Regional Office and National Capital Region Benefits Office spoke at the opening of the new MDVA office in Salisbury.

Antione Waller
MD Veteran Chamber II

The Maryland Veteran Chamber event provided excellent networking opportunities.