27 March 2020 MDVA News & Announcements

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  March 27, 2020


2020 is the Year of the Woman in Maryland

Kelly Welsh

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 Kelly Welsh who serves on the Maryland Veterans Commission is featured.  Kelly provided the following information:

LCDR Kelly Welsh was recently appointed to the Maryland Veterans Commission as the representative for Women Veterans. She will retire this summer after a 20 year career in the Navy. Kelly spent the first half of her career leading sailors on board ships at sea through various operational commitments and deployments. For the last 9 years, she's been immersed in leader development while serving as a Junior Permanent Military Professor in the Leadership, Ethics, & Law Department at the United States Naval Academy. Kelly's most notable impact has been her role as founding Chair of the Naval Academy Women's Network in 2013 designed to promote the retention of women in service. Kelly recently became a mom to daughter, Finley in October. 

Governor Larry Hogan and the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs are taking proactive steps to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Maryland. For updates on MDVA Operations Status, please check the MDVA website:

MDVA Website

MDVA remains diligent in its efforts to serve our veterans and the community at this time.  We appreciate your understanding of changes.

We here at MDVA hope you, your family, friends and colleagues are safe and well.

Rufonda and Tuskegee Airmen

On March 12th, Mr. Rufonda Moss (far left), Administrative Specialist with MDVA had the opportunity to meet Tuskegee Airmen and supporters at a bill hearing for HB0716 which proposed the establishment of Tuskegee Airman Commemoration Day in Maryland.

State Partner News

Governor's Proclamation

While the in-person events to celebrate Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day have been cancelled for March, MDVA would like to share Governor Hogan's Proclamation recognizing Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day in Maryland.  Please see suggested ways to celebrate Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day virtually in both the Federal News and the Community News section below in this e-newsletter.

2020 Session of the Maryland General Assembly has Adjourned

As a service to the veteran community, information on legislation of possible interest to veterans is provided below:

2020 Legislative Information

You may may find additional information on legislation at:

Maryland General Assembly Website

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month

This information is shared with you from the Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling, University of Maryland, School of Medicine

Glenn's Gamble: A Marine's Battle for Gambling Addiction Recovery

Problem Gambling Among Veterans

Contact Information for Help


News for Business Owners in Maryland from Maryland Secretary of Commerce Kelly Schulz

It is essential that you continue to check our Coronavirus Information for Businesses webpage for the latest information and guidance. This site will be updated frequently as new information becomes available. It includes an FAQ that will also be updated regularly.

Please let us know if you have any questions by emailing Secretary.Commerce@Maryland.Gov

Maryland Department of Health: COVID - 19 Updates

Visit the Maryland Department of Health for updated information.

Governor Hogan Comment: Census - Your Civic Duty video

Federal Partner News

VA Logo1

The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Regional Offices will be closed to the public starting March 19.

Regional offices will remain open, but will no longer accept walk-ins for claims assistance, scheduled appointments, counseling and other in-person services. This decision protects our older Veterans and those with underlying conditions as well as our employees.

Veterans can continue to get information about benefits or file a claim for benefits by visiting our website at www.va.gov. Veterans with claims specific or other questions may request information via Inquiry Routing & Information System (IRIS) or telephone at 1-800-827-1000.

VBA benefits and services provided to Veterans, families, and survivors will continue to be delivered throughout the duration of COVID-19 impacts.

Please continue to check www.va.gov for updates. You also may follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you,
Veterans Benefits Administration

VA Maryland Health Care News

During the closure of VA outpatient care clinics to prevent the spread of COVID-19, this is a great opportunity for Veterans to learn about virtual care options and how to access your VA health care information online.

Here are a few tips you can use to get started:

  1. Learn about the benefits of virtual care by watching the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMM28tySPaA.
  2. Learn more about VA Telehealth Services at telehealth.va.gov/.
  3. To create your own personal health record and get access to the Veterans Health Library, register for MyHealtheVet by visiting https://www.myhealth.va.gov/. Click “Register,” fill in the form and submit. This takes about 5 minutes. If you need help, call 877-327-0022.

Thank you.

VA Maryland Health Care System

Federal News

Veterans May Attend Virtual Events for National Vietnam Veterans Day

What You Need to Know About Responding to the 2020 Census

Veterans Can Search Free Resources through Code of Support's PATRIOTlink

National Resource Directory - Services for Service Members, Veterans, Caregivers and Families

Caring for the Caregivers of TBI Patients, Health.mil article

PTSD Coach App

Tips for Reducing Stress during the COVID-19 Pandemic - VA Video

Federal Information on COVID-19

Military Treatment Facilities Update, Health.mil article

Nearly 10,000 Guard men and women called up for COVID-19 response, Health.mil article

VA National Cemeteries Adjust Operations in Response to COVID-19 

VA Maryland Health Care System Situation Updates

VA One Page COVID-19 Resources Fact Sheet

Looking for video resources on caring for a loved one with dementia?  VHA’s Office of Rural Health, VHA Caregiver Support Program and the New England Geriatric Research and Clinical Center are pleased to announce the release of three new videos in the Dementia Caregiver video series.  The newest videos cover:

To view all videos in the Dementia Caregivers Video Series, please visit the VHA Office of Rural Health’s website at https://www.ruralhealth.va.gov/vets/resources.asp#dem. Or go to www.caregiver.va.gov  the VA Caregiver Support Program homepage and click the RESOURCES button for the Caregiver Dementia Video Series.

GI Bill Update:

Veterans’ GI Bill benefits to continue during COVID-19 pandemic

WASHINGTON – President Trump signed into law S. 3503, March 21, which will enable the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to continue providing the same level of education benefits to students having to take courses online due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The law gives VA temporary authority to continue GI Bill payments uninterrupted in the event of national emergencies, allowing for continued payment of benefits even if the program has changed from resident training to online training.

Thanks to the law, GI Bill students will continue receiving the same monthly housing allowance payments they received for resident training until Dec. 21, or until the school resumes in-person classes.

In the wake of COVID-19, thousands of students nationwide have been converted to distance learning as many educational institutions are transitioning to technology-based lesson delivery.

“I commend President Trump and Congress for their work on this important law,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “It will give Veteran students certainty as they continue their education.”

Students receiving GI Bill benefits are not required to take any action. Benefits will continue automatically. VA will work closely with schools to ensure enrollments are accurately certified and processed timely. Updates will be provided to students via direct email campaigns and social media regarding VA’s effort to implement these new changes.

Students with specific questions can contact the Education Call Center at: 888-442-4551 between 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday-Friday.

Solicitation of Nominations for Appointment to the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans

Federal Register Notice by the Veterans Affairs Department on 03/17/2020

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Center for Minority Veterans (CMV), is seeking nominations of qualified candidates to be considered for appointment as a member of the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans (“the Committee”).

Nominations for membership on the Committee must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. EST on July 15, 2020.

All nominations should be mailed to the Center for Minority Veterans, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Ave. NW (00M), Washington, DC 20420 or faxed to (202) 273-7092.

Mr. Ronald Sagudan and Mr. Dwayne Campbell, Center for Minority Veterans, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Ave. NW (00M), Washington, DC 20420, Telephone (202) 461-6191. A copy of the Committee charter, application and list of the current membership can be obtained by contacting Mr. Sagudan or Mr. Campbell or by accessing the website managed by CMV at www.va.gov/centerforminorityveterans/Advisory_Committee.asp.

Social Security Administration Update:

Please visit our Social Security & Coronavirus webpage to get updates on the latest, including how to get help from the Social Security Administration by phone and online. I encourage you to share this information with your members, colleagues, affiliates, and other interested parties.

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

Sunday, March 29, is National Vietnam War Veterans Day.  Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, public events at The Wall in Washington and in many communities around the country cannot take place as planned. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is moving this year’s commemoration online with a live webcast and messages of thanks. 

We need your video or written message to make National Vietnam War Veterans Day an online event! 

I’m asking for some leadership by example.  We’re asking everyone to record a very short video and upload it by Friday, March 27, and then watch the event online on March 29.

Go to: https://www.vvmf.org/WelcomeHome  

Recording Your Message 

Other Things You Can Do 

Submit your written message: https://www.vvmf.org/WelcomeHome 

Change your profile picture with VVMF's Facebook frames.  Download them here: https://www.vvmf.org/WelcomeHome  

Support VVMF in honor of someone who served: https://www.vvmf.org/WelcomeHome 

- Jim Knotts

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund

Travis Manion Foundation Offers Help to Parents Teaching Children at Home

We are all facing unanticipated new roles as we self-quarantine and adjust to ever-changing working environments. In addition, school closures have left many parents seeking some degree of structure and normalcy in unstable times as they take on the challenge of homeschooling their children while simultaneously keeping homes and careers afloat. 

Travis Manion Foundation plans to support those overwhelmed parents and enrich the at-home-education of students--all while upholding our mission to engage the veteran community as leaders to give back in ways that are safe and meet the current needs. 

We are excited to announce that Veteran Mentors are stepping up to share the “If Not Me, Then Who…” ethos with children on a new platform starting the week of March 23rd. Our team of trained, vetted, and inspirational veteran leaders will share the Character Does Matter program with youth throughout the country via Facebook Live each weekday at 1 pm ET/10 am PT.

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.
  • f 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.

Update on the Korean War Veterans Memorial Wall Remembrance:

The progress on the Korean War Veterans Memorial, Wall of Remembrance Project is moving along very nicely.  We are presently ahead of schedule for getting all of the final designs approved by all of the required committees in the District of Columbia and Federal government. Thank you for all who have contributed thus far.
The attached document will give you More Information
We are expecting to select our contractor to  build the Wall of Remembrance this coming week. Before we can start construction on the Memorial we must have (required by law) all of the cost for construction plus 10% for perpetual  maintenance of the Memorial in our bank account.
This is where we need your assistance.  If you can help with a donation to the Wall of Remembrance, we would be most appreciative.  We would like to continue to be ahead of schedule and be able to complete the Wall of Remembrance by July of 2022.  With your help, we can achieve this goal.
Respectfully submitted,
James R. Fisher
Executive Director
Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation

Community Calendar

Most of the events previously listed in the Community Calendar section have been cancelled.  If you have any questions regarding a previously scheduled veteran or community event, please contact the the organization hosting the event for more information.

The Community Calendar will be updated when events resume.

March 30, 2020

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

April 18, 2020

CANCELLED: DAV 7th Annual Veterans Information & Benefits Seminar, Essex

April 21, 2020

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