22 October 2021 MDVA News and Announcements

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  October 22, 2021


MDVA Service & Benefits Program Assisting Veterans



MDVA has Benefits Specialists working at offices around the state, who stand ready to help you with questions and claims. With the closeout of the first quarter of the Maryland state fiscal year (1 July to 30 September), the MDVA Service and Benefits program has made significant achievements in benefits assistance to Maryland Veterans and dependents.  


In just those three months, claims filed by MDVA Benefits Specialists have resulted in:

  • Over $1.5 million being awarded for new claims
  • Over $8.6 million being awarded in retro payments
  • Total claims filed by MDVA for this 3-month period: 838

Do you have questions about your benefits as a veteran?  Do you want to file a claim for compensation or pension?  Has your service-connected disability worsened over time and you want to file for an increase in your rating?

The MDVA Service and Benefits staff will help you with these questions and many more.  Please contact one of the MDVA Benefits Specialists for assistance. Information on MDVA office locations are at the link below:

MDVA Benefits and Service Program


MDVA Website

MDVA Women Veterans event

MDVA Secretary George Owings is pleased to announce the designation of Ms. Roslyn Jones, Women Veterans/Inclusion Program Manager, to represent the Department on the Maryland Commission on Health Equity.  The purpose of the Commission is to determine ways for state and local governments to work collaboratively and to implement policies and laws to reduce health disparities and to increase health equity across the state.  "I am confident Ms. Jones will be a strong voice for Maryland veterans on the Maryland Commission on Health Equity," said George Owings, Secretary;  "Her role as the women veterans/inclusion program manager makes her more than suitable to serve in this role."  Ms. Jones replaces Dana Burl, Director of the MDVA Outreach & Advocacy program on this Commission.

Loreasa Minor photo  

MDVA Announces Loreasa Minor - New Office Secretary at Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery

Ms. Minor provided the following information: As a young child/teenager I loved traveling with my family on vacations & staying in various hotels.  That led me to a 18 year career in the Hospitality Industry where I held various positions from Front Desk Agent to Area Revenue Manager.  My final job was at the Hilton Garden Inn & Homewood Suites in Arundel Mills as the Complex Sales Manager. From there I worked as the Office Manager at Vaughn  C. Greene Funeral Services for 7 years.  I am so very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Garrison Forest Cemetery team and look forward to many, many years of service with the State of Maryland.

I am a resident of a small community in Baltimore County, Turner Station.  I come from a huge family (dad is one of 12 siblings & mom is one of 5 siblings). I ABSOLUTELY ADORE my family and spend as much time as I can with my parents, brother, niece and nephew.  While I don't have any children of my own I LOVE & take pleasure in playing with my little 3rd cousins at family gatherings.  

MDVA Cemetery and Memorials Program

Vietnam Commemoration Pin

MDVA Secretary George Owings presents the Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin to Mr. Dave Smith in recognition of his service to our nation.  Mr. Smith served in the United States Air Force.

State Partner News

General Singh


VIDEO AND PHOTO RELEASE: Governor Hogan Announces Proposal to Rename Maryland National Guard Readiness Center In Honor of Major General Linda Singh

Makes Announcement at Official Portrait Unveiling for General Singh

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan announced that he will introduce a proposal at the next meeting of the Board of Public Works (BPW) to officially rename the Maryland National Guard’s Freedom Readiness Center in Sykesville as the Major General Linda L. Singh Readiness Center. 

Governor Hogan made the announcement at a portrait unveiling honoring General Singh, the first African American and the first woman to lead the Maryland National Guard.

Watch the announcement.

“General Singh’s incredible life story and her amazing career have served as an inspiration, not only for the next generation of National Guard soldiers and airmen, but for young women everywhere,” said Governor Hogan. “She is a shining example that there is no amount of adversity that cannot be overcome through sheer hard work, relentless determination, and strength of character.”

General Singh retired in Sept. 2019 after 38 years of service in both the enlisted and officer ranks, which included deployed assignments in Kosovo and a combat tour in Afghanistan. Her numerous decorations and honors include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Army Achievement Medal.

Most recently, the governor named General Singh to the Maryland Coronavirus Response Team to advise state officials on emergency response and preparedness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spotlight on Education: University of Maryland Global Campus

UMGC is offering a full scholarship for military and veteran caregivers for the 2022-2023 academic year.  The scholarship application period opens on November 11, 2021.

Read More Here

Governor's Office of  Small, Minority and Women Business Affairs Announces:

ATTENTION VETERAN ENTREPRENEURS: On November 5th, Veterans and military spouses have access to free training, coaching and support in pursuit of owning and operating a successful small business.

Project Opportunity is a free entrepreneurship training program designed solely for veterans (Active Duty, Guard/Reserve Personnel, and Veterans) who want to start their own business or expand their current small business. Program graduates are in various stages of their business ventures, ranging from finalizing their business plan to actual launch and earning income. They have successfully conducted this program for over 250 veterans all of which are currently pursuing their dream of owning a small business. Military spouses are welcome, too!

 What you need to know:

  • This is a quick overview; we promise to keep it under 1 hour.
  • There is no cost to attend; advance registration is required.
  • This session will be recorded; by registering, you are consenting to be recorded.
  • Upon receiving a registration confirmation, you will be given a unique link to join the event.


Maryland's Veteran-Owned Small Business Enterprise (VSBE) Program: 

Are you a veteran entrepreneur? This session of our Technical Training Classroom takes a look at Maryland's VSBE Program's eligibility standards and 3-step certification process. We'll also explore common procurement practices and examine tactics for mining the state's open and transparent procurement pipeline. 

Who should attend? Veteran small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to assess the state contracting arena and gain a better understanding of Maryland's VSBE Program.

This class is being presented by Alison Tavik, Director of Communications & Outreach, Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs on November 9th.

Register here.


Maryland Secretary of State Announces Participation In International Charity Fraud Awareness Week

Secretary of State John C. Wobensmith and Attorney General Brian Frosh announced their participation in the 2021 International Charity Fraud Awareness Week (ICFAW) from Oct. 18-22, 2021 to help raise awareness about fraud and cybercrime affecting charities. ICFAW, which is led by an international partnership of charities, regulators, law enforcers, representative bodies and professional advisors, seeks to create a safe space for charities and their supporters to talk about fraud and share best practices.

“We wholeheartedly support International Charity Fraud Awareness Week,” said Secretary Wobensmith. “Raising awareness among charities about cybercrime and fraudulent activity is crucial, especially when cybercrime has become rampant. We are hosting two town halls for charitable organizations to raise awareness about fraud and cybercrime affecting charities,”

The Secretary of State’s Office is holding two virtual Town Halls to address precautionary measures and how to prevent breaches, and share best practices. The goal is to illuminate this vulnerability to charities, fortify the sector, and provide information that can help to protect the sector.  

The first Town Hall, "Stop Cybercrime in its Tracks...Tips for Protecting Charities,” which was held recently, showcased cybersecurity specialists who addressed precautionary measures and how to prevent breaches, and share good practices. 

The second Town Hall, "Don't Be a Victim of Cybercrime...Tips from Charity Leaders,” which will be held here on Oct. 22, 2021 at 10:00AM, will feature charity leaders addressing the cybersecurity issues they've encountered and precautionary and reactive measures used. 

“There are many charities that provide essential services and goods in communities across our state,” said Attorney General Frosh.  “It’s important for charities and consumers to remain vigilant against fraud, scams, and identity theft. ICFAW is an opportunity to educate and connect Maryland’s charities with the tools needed to guard against cybercrime. ”  

Secretary Wobensmith and Attorney General Frosh are official partners of International Charity Fraud Awareness Week and to support the efforts of the award-winning International Charity Fraud Awareness Week. Charities, NGOs, and not-for-profits are all susceptible to fraud and are possible targets. Those providing services and supporting local communities may be especially vulnerable to fraudsters attempting to exploit the current national and global crises to carry out fraud and cybercrime. 

This effort is led by an international coalition of over 40 charities, regulators, section and professional representative bodies, and other interested stakeholders including: The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland; Charity Digital; CyberScotland, GoFundMe; UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office; Fundraising Regulator; Get Safe Online; Global Cyber Alliance; IASME Consortium; OSCR Scottish Charity Regulator; Sightline Security; Take Five to Stop Fraud; Tenancy Fraud Forum; UK Aid; UK Finance.

More information on International Charity Fraud Awareness Week can be found on the Secretary of State’s website and Facebook page.  

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Federal Partner News

Federal News:

Veterans Benefits Guide now available in both print and digital formats

Operation Protect Veterans offers tips to identify donation scams

Military Exposures and Your Health Newsletter

Suicide Prevention: Space Between Thought and Trigger

Arthritis Foundation: Arthritis and the Military

VA Women's Health Transition Training

White Ribbon VA Pledge

VA Burial Benefits & Memorial Items

Next Generation Prosthetics for Veterans of All Ages

Mobile apps make it easier for veterans to manage their health

The Dangers of Counterfeit Pills and Sharing Medication 

Take these steps to protect your liver

VA Telehealth: Bridging the Digital Divide

Live Whole Health #92: Old time country songs

Amtrak offers Veteran, and military member discounts

Veteran discounts available year round

Post 9/11 Veterans can apply to become wildland firefighters

America250: Marine Corps Veteran Woody Williams, Note: Woody was instrumental in establishing two Memorials in Maryland, Annapolis and Havre de Grace.

You are invited to the Military & Veterans My Rights “Did You Know” Series

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) will co-host the Military & Veterans My Rights “Did You Know” series. This event will be part of a series of webinars that highlight challenges, new resources and tools available for active duty military, veterans and their families. This webinar will highlight consumer protection & complaint process. FDIC, CFPB, and NCUA will have speakers to address when and where to file a complaint, resources and tools available during COVID-19

Date: October 27, 2021

Time: 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM Eastern Time


50 Project-Based HUD-VASH Vouchers Awarded for Phase II of the HELP Veterans Village

HELP USA, a New York-based nonprofit organization that works to ensure that Veterans have a place to call home, has been awarded 50 Project-Based HUD-VASH vouchers by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to support Phase II of the HELP Veterans Village. Located on the campus of the Perry Point VA Medical Center, the HELP Veterans Village is an innovative community that provides affordable and permanent housing for at-risk and formerly homeless Veterans and their families. 

Opened in August 2018 along the shores of the Susquehanna River, the HELP Veterans Village is one of several VA-sponsored initiatives across the county to develop unused VA property to provide housing for at-risk and formerly homeless Veterans. Due to the demand for affordable housing in Cecil County and the surrounding area, all 75 units in the HELP Veterans Village have been fully occupied since it opened. With this recent award of HUD-VASH vouchers, HELP USA will be able to add a mix of 50 renovated and newly constructed apartments to help support the housing needs for at-risk and formerly homeless Veterans in Cecil and Harford Counties.

The location of the HELP Veterans Village adjacent to the Perry Point VA Medical Center has been an incredible asset by allowing Veteran residents to have convenient access to important VA medical, vocational and behavioral health services. It also allows VA social workers and other support staff to regularly check on residents who may need assistance.

“This initiative will significantly support our efforts to eliminate Veteran homelessness and improve the quality of life for Maryland’s Veterans,” said Jonathan R. Eckman, director of the VA Maryland Health Care System. “We have a moral obligation to ensure that Veterans and their families have access to affordable housing and health care services that will help them get back on their feet.”

“The HELP Veterans Village has been a great success,” said David Cleghorn, chief housing officer for HELP USA. “These HUD-VASH vouchers will ensure that HELP USA can provide even more Veterans with quality homes that will support the community for generations to come. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve those who have served us all.”

HELP USA plans to begin construction on Phase II of the HELP Veterans Village in late 2022.


Governor Larry Hogan also issued a press release on this project. Read More Here

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.

Gunny Jones photo  

AARP Maryland Honors Exceptional Marylanders Aged 50-plus

AARP Maryland State President's Award: Gunnery Sgt. (Ret) Curtis "Gunny" Jones of Annapolis is a U.S. Marine Corps retiree who has dedicated himself to ensuring that veterans and their families enjoy the full array of Veterans Administration benefits that they have earned through their service. As a 100% disabled veteran, Jones knows from experience how to submit claims correctly and what supporting documentation is needed. Through word-of-mouth and the many veterans' organizations where he serves, Jones connects with veterans across the state and across the country to help them navigate the bureaucracy. The veterans are often seniors (sometimes widows of veterans) needing to repair their homes after damage caused by plumbing problems, or add ramps for wheelchairs, or require medical treatment, and are qualified for Veterans Affairs benefits but do not know how to submit a claim. “Gunny is totally committed to Veterans,” said John Church of Davidsonville, who shared Jones' story with AARP Maryland.“If he learns that a Veteran needs help, you can be assured that Gunny will be there to help day or night.” Jones is an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Fleet Reserve Association, Disabled American Veterans, and the American Legion Cook-Pinkney Post 141, where he serves as post commander. He is involved with the NAACP for Anne Arundel County, the Chesapeake Veterans Alliance, the Veterans Affairs Maryland Health Care System (Baltimore), and the National Veterans Intermediary. Please join us in thanking Gunny for his continued service to our country.

Photo and text courtesy of AARP

Community News

Baltimore Station Fundraiser: Stars, Stripes & Chow, Chili Edition, Baltimore

Vehicles for Change receives donations of used cars from the community and prepares them to be road ready for distribution to eligible recipients.  In exchange, the recipient of the vehicle is responsible for paying a nominal fee between $900 to $1000 for the car.  That fee is used to replenish the car fund for future recipients.  We partner with Sandy Spring Bank in Columbia Maryland, to ensure financing.  The loan is guaranteed because Vehicles For Change is the co-signor, and it is an excellent opportunity for the customers to either establish credit, build credit or improve their credit.  Generally the recipients have a 12 month loan with monthly payments no higher than $90.00.  All vehicles come with a 6 month and or 6000 mile warranty.

The recipients cannot have a vehicle in their name.  They must provide a driving history from the MVA to make sure they can get insurance.  They must have a valid Maryland Driver’s license, with no current DUIs or DWIs.  They must work at a minimum of 30 hours per week or have a verifiable job offer for the same.  If currently working we will need to get copies of their paystubs to verify employment.  They have to qualify as low income, and be willing to attend a car orientation before receiving the car.

As you may well know that Veteran’s day is coming up shortly, and our organization would like to award cars to 10 Veterans that meet all the requirements.   MileOne of Owings Mills is donating the cars.  Any applicants names need to be submitted by November 1, 2021.



ServingTogether offers service members, veterans and their families access to a class-leading continuum of providers that runs the gamut from superior mental health, housing, and emergency service providers to employment, financial capabilities, education, volunteering, recreation and fitness, and more! We are able to track client progress, communicate with providers and ensure the veterans are truly getting what they need all free of charge.  

Serving Together has been immensely successful in building a dynamic team that is truly devoted to the mission of the organization. This team has tangible, personal connections to our veterans and genuine concern for their best outcomes. ServingTogether provides peer navigation, collaboratives, guides, education, and training. Please visit our Website for more information.  


Community Calendar

October 26, 2021

American Veteran, on PBS

October 29, 2021

Free Veterans Legal Clinics


Service Women's Action Network (SWAN) Virtual 5K Run/Walk

Donations sought for Southeast Veterans Service Center Thanksgiving Dinner, Washington, DC

November 4 - 11, 2021

MCVET Virtual 5K/10K

November 5, 2021

St. Mary's County Veterans Resource Day, Great Mills

November 7, 2021

Howard County Veterans Day Parade, Columbia

November 10, 2021

DAV Veterans Grab and Go Event, Silver Spring

November 13, 2021

DAV Benefits & Claims Clinic, Newburg

Harford County Veterans Resource Fair

November 16 & 17, 2021

Maryland Commitment to Veterans 2021 Virtual Behavioral Health Symposium

Message for New Subscribers:

Is this your first edition of the MDVA newsletter?  If so, welcome!  You are receiving this newsletter because you signed up to receive it from our website or you gave permission to an MDVA program, the MD Motor Vehicle Administration or MD Department of Labor to receive information on VA benefits and resources.  We at MDVA respect your privacy and DO NOT share your email address.  We hope you enjoy receiving our bi-weekly newsletter and find it both educational and engaging.  If you have questions about our Department, our Programs, or your VA benefits, please visit veterans.maryland.gov or call 410-260-3838.