10 April 2020 MDVA News and Announcements

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  April 10, 2020


2020 is the Year of the Woman in Maryland

Wanda Canales

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 Wanda Colon-Canales who serves on the Maryland College Collaboration for Student Veterans Commission is featured.  Wanda provided the following information:

Wanda Colon-Canales was born in Puerto Rico. She graduated with a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Mary Hardin- Baylor, Texas and a M.S. in Higher Education Administration/Research at Central State University, Ohio. In the beginning of her military career, she served in different capacities at military sites such as Darnall Army Hospital, Fort Hood,Texas and Womack Army Hospital, Fort Bragg, NC.

By 2002, she was invited by the Ohio Commission for Latin American Affairs to get involved with issues related to higher education. Since then she continued her career in serving students and getting involved with veteran organizations to improve student services.

Currently she works at Washington Adventist University as Director of Admissions and Recruitment, and supervises Veteran Services. She says that her motivation to serve our military, veterans and their families in higher education is an honor and a blessing. She wants to continue a legacy of service by working for those who serve this country.

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

MPT and MDVA Working Together

The MDVA Outreach & Advocacy Program has postponed many outreach activities and events over the last few weeks.  In an effort to continue reaching out to veterans, and making sure they are aware of MDVA services, there is now a short information spot running on Maryland Public Television.  See video here

Update on Charlotte Hall Veterans Home

An Outpouring of Support -

Throughout the past several weeks, Charlotte Hall Veterans Home has been the recipient of an outpouring of community support. Charlotte Hall is usually a buzzing community full of life with  strong volunteer and donor programs in place. Under the new guidelines, no visitors nor volunteers are allowed to enter the building at this time to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Community supporters reached out to Charlotte Hall staff to find out ways to help while still complying with the new regulations.

Support has come in through donations of snacks, toiletry items, handmade fabric masks, additional Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), and even catered meals. Veterans Service Organizations, clubs of all kinds, local restaurants, small and large business and individual community members have offered support.

The internal television channel at Charlotte Hall has been used to provide a variety of programs for residents throughout each day. Volunteers are sending in videos with greetings, songs, dances, and other joyful content to be broadcast for residents to enjoy.  Even some of the regular musical entertainers are live streaming entire concerts for the residents to view.

If you could walk through the hallways, you would see individuals wearing colorful face masks handmade by community members, you would hear channel 17 buzzing with music and entertainment, residents on video calls with their family members, rolling carts of food and snacks for everyone, and you can feel the gratitude to the community for their support during these challenging times.

Ashley Radano

Director of Recreational Services  

Please scroll to the bottom of the e-newsletter for photos of staff with some of the donations.

Fred Shinbur

CW5 Fred Shinbur, USA, (Ret) who is the Chairman of the Maryland Veterans Commission was vacationing in Bowling Green, FL along with his wife, General Jeannie Shinbur, USA (Ret) when he learned that many of the veterans there had not heard of or received the Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin.  On President's Day, February 17, 2020 a ceremony was organized.  Here is a quote from Chairman Shinbur:

"This is a photo of 43 Veterans who served from 1 November 1955 – 15 May 1975. Plus there were 5 more Vietnam Veterans who could not make the ceremony and I presented the pin and proclamation privately.  There were approximately 200 folks at the celebration. An absolutely great turn out and the emotions were hard to contain. Veterans and families alike were emotionally appreciative and grateful for the recognition. I advised them that our Governor is very veteran pro-active, and I presented the pins on behalf of Governor Hogan and Secretary Owings."

You may find Chairman Shinbur, front row center in the black shirt. Chairman Shinbur also served at the Project Coordinator,  MPT Salutes Vietnam Veterans  and LZ Maryland special event and program hosted by Maryland Public Televison in 2016.. 

State Partner News

Maryland’s Commitment to Veterans (MCV) Operation Roll Call

       How MCV Roll Call works:

Veterans and/or Veteran’s family members (with the veteran’s written or verbal consent to the MCV Regional Resource Coordinator {RRC}) can be a part of the MCV Roll Call by calling the MCV 24/7 Hotline at 1/877-770-4801 to register for a once a week or bi-weekly call or as we say “Roll Call” check-in.

       Who Qualifies for MCV Roll Call:

To be a part of the MCV Roll Call, you must have served in the military and reside within the State of Maryland.

       What is needed to be a part of the MCV Roll Call:

The veteran must have a working cell phone and/or land line. The veteran will also need an alternate person (family member, friend, neighbor, etc…) who will agree to check on the veteran if the RRC is unable to reach them after three call attempts.

       How does the veteran register:

The veteran will need to call the MCV 24/7 Hotline at 1/877-770-4801 to request to be a part of MCV Operation Roll Call. The call information will then be directed to their local RRC. The RRC will then reach out to the veteran to obtain the information needed to place them in the MCV Operation Roll Call program. Once the veteran has completed registration, the RRC will call to check in on the veteran once a week or once every two weeks (whichever the veteran chooses). A copy of the form can be mailed/emailed to the veteran upon their request.

       What else should the veteran know:

If the veteran does not respond after at least 3 attempts, the RRC will then call the alternate contact to have the contact check on the status of the veteran. This is a voluntary program which the veteran may opt out of at any time. None of the veteran’s information will be shared with any other organizations.


Maryland Secretary of State, Attorney General Warn of Possible Charity Scams Related to COVID-19

Read More Here

Updates from Maryland Comptroller's Office

Extension for Tax Filing

Maryland Department of Labor: Employment Opportunities

Recommended links for trusted info - Compiled & Provided by Maryland Public Television

Federal Partner News

Seeking women who served in the military:

Women Military photo

We invite you to participate in a study focusing on your health behaviors and life experiences as a woman Veteran.

The goal of the Health for Every Veteran Study is to better understand the experiences of Veterans from all backgrounds and promote their health and well-being, including women who served. We are especially interested in hearing the diverse voices within our communities. Participants will be helping advance Veteran research, without leaving their homes!The study is being conducted by researchers at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. It consists of completing a confidential, web-based questionnaire every 9 months for approximately 2 years (for a total of 4 questionnaires). All research activities are completed online, with no in-person visits required. For more information, please go to https://healthforeveryvet-women.questionpro.com.

Federal News

Military Sisterhood Initiative Connects Women Veterans

US Department of Agriculture supports Veterans

Military Scientists & Engineers Develop a Ventilator Prototype, Health.mil article

200 New Doctors & Nurses Join Medical Military Ranks Early, Health.mil article

Update for DOD Commissaries and Exchanges

Military Treatment Facility Pharmacy Update, Health.mil article

Dr, Adam Robinson, Director of Maryland VA Health Care System Video Update

Information on Virtual C&P exams

VA More than ever before, we must focus on our emotional well-being

Veterans Have Multiple Resources for COVID-19 Information

April is Stress Awareness Month

PTSD Coach App

My HealtheVet Quick User Guides

Board of Veterans Appeals Now Holding Virtual Hearings

The Blue Water Veterans Claims Update

VA Live Whole Health - Self Care Episode 1

VA LIve Whole Health - Self Care Episode 2

VA Live Whole Health - Self Care Episode 3 - Tai Chi

Team Red, White and Blue (RWB) encourages veterans to stay connected, stay active

Check Out This Story on the "Hello Girls" of World War I.  They trained at what is now Fort George G. Meade, MD

West Point Alumni Glee Club Performs Moving Tribute to Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans

West Point

The West Point Alumni Glee Club was to perform on March 29th at the Vietnam Memorial but that was  postponed.

So the club agreed to send out the link to everyone showing the video of us singing the Vietnam War Medley of songs.  We sing the popular songs of the day from the perspective of the Soldier, not the general population's point of view.  Jim Lehrer (McNeil/Lehrer) introduces us.  It is a live performance and this is along piece, 15 minutes.  It is an emotional sing and Leavin On A Jet Plane and Bridge Over Troubled Water are the toughest to get through.  A Senior Sergeant from the West Point Band and our Director, Gary Fitzgerald, worked the 4-part harmony and West Point's Glee Club Director, Connie Chase, got permission to do the four part harmony from all the groups/owners.  So, Terry Ryan, the Glee Club VP wrote the into below for this email.

Warrior Singers, 

While we are quarantined and cannot recognize Vietnam Veteran Day tomorrow, March 29, 2020, with you in person, YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN!

The West Point Alumni Glee Club offers a video of our Vietnam Medley with our thanks for your service!

The West Point Alumni Glee Club Vietnam Medley

Welcome Home! 

The Leadership Group, West Point Alumni Glee Club

Caregiver Support from the VA

In honor of Caregivers and your loved ones, during these difficult time we offer you a place to give and receive support anytime from the comfort of your home.

Building Better Caregivers (BBC) is a free 6-week online workshop developed by Stanford University to support Caregivers of Veterans of all eras. Join a community of Caregivers who share similar challenges, such as dealing with stress and finding time for yourself.

Trained facilitators guide you in learning  new ways to manage stress and improve communication skills with your Care Partner. You’ll get access to:

  • 24/7 access to self-guided lessons and resources
  • Safe, secure & anonymous environment
  • Ongoing support from other Caregivers during and after the program

If you are a Caregiver, click here to learn more about BBC and see if you are eligible.

If you are an organization interested in referring your Caregivers to BBC, click here for a flyer you can share with your Caregivers.

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

Women Veterans United Committee, Inc. is holding a virtual retreat in April: Schedule and More Information


Habitat for Humanity Assists Veterans - Read More Here


Free Suit for Veterans - while the April 23rd Career Fair has been cancelled, veterans may still apply for a free suit from Save-A-Suit.  More Information Here

Project Soldier - Korea

The mission is to record the pride of veterans, note it into history and pass it on to the next generation. They visit as many veterans as possible and take portraits and group photos for each veteran and chapter. They present the photos in frame-less acrylic picture frames, to everyone.
There project and all photo work are sponsored by kind and thoughtful individual sponsors. Help us continue with this objective and keep our future generations informed and proud of these heroes.  
For additional information on this noble mission, I would like to encourage you to visit them on their website located at: http://projectsoldierkwv.com/
To make a donation to Project Mission, Korea please visit,


Help Project Soldier - Korea honor and thank our Korean War Veterans while there is still time.

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.
* 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

Community Calendar

Virtual Poly-Only Hiring Event

Charlotte Hall Veterans Home Donation Photos

In photos taken last week, some of the Charlotte Hall staff are taking a quick break from resident care areas to show their appreciation for the donations of masks and food.  

Thank you for the dedication and commitment of all the employees at Charlotte Hall Veterans Home.  You are a special group of people and we appreciate you. 

Thank you also to community supporters who provided the donations.

Charlotte Hall ICharlotte Hall IICharlotte Hall IIICharlotte Hall IVCharlotte Hall VCharlotte Hall VI