24 September 2021 MDVA News and Announcements

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  September 24, 2021


MDVA Welcomes new Director of Charlotte Hall Veterans Home

Charlotte Hall logo

MDVA is pleased to announce the new Director of Charlotte Hall Veterans Home, Michelle Cariaso. Michelle joined the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs in August 2018 as its Quality Assurance Manager. Before joining MDVA, Michelle worked at Hackensack Meridian Health in New Jersey in various nurse leadership positions.  She was promoted to the position of Director for Charlotte Hall Veterans Home in September 2021, following the retirement of the previous Director, Sharon Murphy.

As Director, Michelle oversees resident care, fiscal management, support services and ensures contract compliance with Federal & State regulations. She is responsible for preparing and administering the Home's annual operating budget and capital improvement projects.  Michelle serves as the on-site advocate for residents and responds to inquiries by residents, family members and elected officials.  Actively involved in the Home's marketing, she maintains connections with veteran and community organizations, both in southern Maryland and statewide to promote the awareness of Charlotte Hall Veterans Home and the services the Home provides.

A resident of Leonardtown, Michelle has a Bachelor's Degree in both Nursing and Physical Therapy. She holds a compact RN license, a Dementia Capable Care, and Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Certification. She serves as a Quality Enhancement Committee member with the National Association of State Veterans Homes (NASVH) and is completing her Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality accreditation. She is blessed with 4 children.

Michelle strives to continually work with the healthcare delivery team to uplift the quality of life for the veteran residents of Charlotte Hall Veterans Home.

Michelle Cariaso

Michelle Cariaso, RN, BSN, the newly appointed Director of Charlotte Hall Veterans Home

We are pleased to announce another new MDVA employee; David Skisano, Veterans Benefits Specialists II, who recently joined the MDVA team.  David is working at the MDVA Service & Benefits office located inside the Motor Vehicle Administration building in Gaithersburg.

David provided the following information: 

David's previous work experience included the Baltimore County Office of Workforce Development working with veterans on re-employment and training, the Maryland Department Of Labor, Licensing and Regulation working as an instructor/facilitator and also with Montgomery County Fire and Rescue as a Firefighter/Rescuer.

His military experience includes active-duty service in the Navy as an Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Handler (ABH) on board the air craft carrier USS Kitty Hawk CV 63 based out of Yokosuka Japan, during (OEF).  

David’s military awards and decorations include: the National Defense Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Navy Unit Commendation; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (3); Navy/Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon (3); and the Navy Good Conduct Medal.

David’s hobbies include watching the O’s and coaching his daughter's softball team.

MDVA Website

MDVA Cemetery & Memorials Program news: Some recent updates have been made at Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery.  Thank you to the MDVA Garrison Forest employees who recommended the updates to better serve visitors.

New Fountain at Garrison Forest

A new fountain has been added, which not only enhances the location and provides a spot for quiet reflection, but the fountain also helps with mosquito control.

New benches at Garrison Forest

Several new benches have been installed for the comfort of visitors.

CRAB sailboat

September 20th was a beautiful day on the water for veterans participating in the National VA Summer Sports Clinic.  Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB), partnered with the VA to offer the Sailing Clinic in Annapolis this year.

Sailing family photo

MDVA Secretary George Owings joined the veterans participating in the sailing event for the mid-day break.  Here, Secretary Owings (standing) talks with veteran, Bryan Maximo and his family, Malakas, Maharlika and Mae Aquino.  

Sailing Clinic photo

Secretary Owings at left with some of the veteran participants and VA staff at the National VA Summer Sports Clinic.

Dana photo

The Annapolis 9/11 Heroes Run took place on Sunday, September 19 at the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium.  This event was established by the Travis Manion Foundation in memory of 1LT Travis Manion, USMC, a US Naval Academy Graduate, killed in 2007 while serving in Iraq. 

Dana Burl (Director, MDVA Outreach & Advocacy Program) ran the 5K, finishing 12/35 in her age group.  She was honored to join USNA Midshipman, local first responders, and the community to raise awareness of the service and sacrifice of our military and first responders since September 11, 2001.

Photo: Buzz Keel, President, Travis Manion Foundation, Annapolis Chapter and Dana Burl, Outreach Director, MDVA

State Partner News

Governor Hogan on 9/11

Governor Larry Hogan commemorated the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks during the Maryland National Guard’s Fallen Warrior Ceremony at Camp Fretterd Military Reservation.

Watch the governor’s remarks

The 13 members of the Maryland National Guard who were honored include:

CW4 William Ruth. Died 11 Sep 2001 from injuries sustained at the Pentagon, Arlington Va.
Staff Sgt. Kenneth Cropper. Died 20 Mar 2002 at Fort Myer, Va.
Private First Class Carlton Newman. Died 3 Mar 2005 at Ft. Stewart, Georgia
CPL Samuel Boswell. Died 14 Oct 2005 from injuries sustained in Al Taji, Iraq
CPL Bernard Ceo. Died 14 Oct 2005 from injuries sustained in Al Taji, Iraq
Sgt. Brian Connor. Died 14 Oct 2005 from injuries sustained in Al Taji, Iraq
Staff Sgt. Michael McMullen. Died 10 Jan 2006 from wounds sustained in Ramadi, Iraq
CSM Roger Haller. Died 20 Jan 2007 from wounds sustained in Baghdad, Iraq
Sgt. First Class Collin Bowen. Died 14 March 2008 from wounds sustained in Khost province, Afghanistan
Sgt. 1st Class William B. Woods. Died 16 Aug 2009 from wounds sustained in Ghazni, Afghanistan
Staff Sgt Matthew A. Pucino. Died 23 Nov 2009 from wounds sustained in Pashay Kala, Afghanistan
Maj. Robert J. Marchanti II. Died 25 Feb 2012 from wounds sustained in Kabul, Afghanistan
Staff Sgt. Eddison A. Hermond, Jr. Died 29 May 2018 when saving a civilian during the flooding in Ellicott City.

Government Agency Day Flier

Spotlight on Education: Veterans Upward Bound Program at Prince Georges Community College

The TRIO Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) Program at Prince George's Community College is a FREE, nonprofit, pre-college program. The primary goal of TRIO VUB is to prepare eligible veterans to enter college, be successful in college and to graduate from college by providing short-term refresher courses and other services for veterans who have delayed pursuing a postsecondary education.



Maryland's Commitment to Veterans

Save the Date: November 16 & 17, 2021 Virtual Behavioral Health Symposium

Maryland Department of Aging

Free Senior Call Check Program

Falls Prevention Awareness Week

Federal Partner News

Federal News

Maryland VA Health Care System: Third Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine

Martinsburg VA Medical Center: Advanced ICU Technology

Washington DC VA Medical Center: Reach Out: Mental Health Resources

Washington DC VA Medical Center: Winter Haven/ Stand Down Update

Washington DC Southeast Veterans Service Center: is seeking donation of shoes and boots

What is Hearing Loss?

Hearing Aids from VA

How is Hearing Loss Treated at the VA

VA: Let's Talk About Substance Abuse

September is National Preparedness Month

Buddy Statement for a VA Disability Claim

2021 Agent Orange Newsletter

VA Launches new Enrollment Verification to Protect GI Bill Students

Live Whole Health #88: Standing Chair Yoga

Live Whole Health #89: Awareness of Breath

Loving Kindness Meditation Proves Effective for PTSD

Veterans, Gold Star Families get free entrance to national parks, refuges and other public lands

VBA Urgently seeks Veteran Services Representatives

VA Caregiver Support Resources

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

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company: Veterans Ensemble, Basic Training


Register for MCVET's Virtual Veterans Day 5K/10K


Greenwell Foundation: nature-based therapeutic and recreational programming for people with and without disabilities at Greenwell State Park.


Baltimore Station Chili Cookoff Fundraiser

The Delaplaine Arts Center in Downtown Frederick is hosting a Veterans Show Art Exhibition coming up in November.  Veteran-Artists are invited to register one piece of original artwork for automatic entry into the exhibition.  For More Information 

The Veterans Consortium is seeking experienced housing and eviction attorneys in DC, VA and MD to volunteer their time and expertise for a free Housing and Eviction Legal Clinic on October 29, 2021.

With the federal eviction moratorium officially over, many of our veterans, their families and loved ones may be in need of our help. This change disproportionately affects low income communities and communities of color who now face housing insecurity and homelessness.

With over $46.5 billion designated by Congress as Emergency Rental Assistance, we are confident we can provide free legal services to veterans seeking immediate aid.

Please help us support our nation's veterans.  For more info on how to get involved, please contact us at clinics@vetsprobono.org

Community Calendar

September 24, 2021: TODAY

Discharge Upgrade Legal Clinic

September 25, 2021

American Gold Star Mothers: Military Suicide Awareness Walk, Washington, DC or Virtual

September 30, 2021

Agent Orange Virtual Webinar

October 1, 2021

Uplift Veterans Happy Hour, Columbia

October 2, 2021

Webinar: Virtual Introduction to Hero Dogs

October 6, 2021

Walk Maryland Day

October 18, 2021

Voices of Vets Fundraiser

October 21, 2021

Maryland Government Agency Day - Virtual

October 22, 2021

Veterans Naturalization Assistance Program Legal Clinic

October 26, 2021

American Veteran, on PBS

November 7, 2021

Howard County Veterans Day Parade, Columbia

November 10, 2021

DAV Veterans Grab and Go Event, Silver Spring


Dr. Mark Chapin

One more photo from the National VA Summer Sports Clinic:  Secretary Owings ran into a friend, Dr. Mark Chapin, LCSW-C.  Dr. Chapin retired from the Army, then worked as a civilian social worker at Walter Reed, became the Team Leader at the Annapolis Vet Center and is now in private practice. Dr. Chapin was volunteering with CRAB to help veterans participating in the sailing clinic. Thank you for your long career of service, Sir!

Dr. Fisher at 9/11 event photo

Dr. JoAnn Fisher of Women Veterans United Committee, Inc. submitted this photo of the 9/11 Observance held in Mt. Airy.  Starting from the right are: Jennifer Charlton, Lt. Colonel Bernard Flowers (Ret.), Maryland Delegate Dan Cox, Dr. Joann Fisher, Dr. Mariela Roca, Tracey Bruening, Beth Lawson and Christopher Anderson 

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