22 April 2022 MDVA News and Announcements

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  April 22, 2022


Applying for VA Compensation and Pension Benefits should not cost you any $$$

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It recently came to the attention of MDVA Secretary George Owings, that a Maryland Veteran paid thousands of dollars to have an organization file his claim for VA compensation benefits.

As a reminder, if you need assistance filing a claim for VA Compensation & Pension benefits, the assistance from MDVA Benefits Specialists is completely free of charge.

In addition, there are Veteran Service Organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the American Legion, AMVETS and other veteran organizations which will not charge any fee for helping a Veteran with a claim for benefits.

Please do not pay for benefits help before checking with MDVA staff or a reputable Veterans organization with members who are skilled and experienced in working with Veteran's claims.

For more information on MDVA's assistance with filing claims use this link: MDVA Service & Benefits Program or call: 1-800-446-4926.


MDVA Website

Charlotte Hall photo with Congressman Hoyer

Charlotte Hall Veterans Home was chosen as the location to host a Bronze Star presentation to the family of Staff Sergeant Christopher Swanson who died in Iraq in July of 2006. Congressman Steny Hoyer presented Mr. and Mrs. Swanson, Christopher’s parents with the Bronze Star Medal with a "V" device for Valor. Congressman Hoyer also presented the family with an American Flag which was flown over the United States Capitol.  

Pictured from the left are: Congressman Steny Hoyer, Mr. Gary Swanson, Mrs. Kelly Swanson, Colonel Tony Deane, USA Ret., and MDVA Secretary George W. Owings III.

This information was provided regarding SSG Swanson: Christopher was just 25 years old when he was leading a patrol in Ramadi, Iraq in pursuit of an Al-Qaeda operative. He relocated his squad to a building hoping to protect them. While in the building, they came under fire from more than one direction. He went to the roof to return fire and to help protect his soldiers. While engaging with the enemy, Staff Sergeant Swanson was mortally wounded.

Charlotte Hall Volunteer Appreciation

The annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon was held this week at Charlotte Hall Veterans Home.  Sincere appreciation is sent out to all those who volunteer to enrich the lives of the residents at Charlotte Hall from Secretary Owings and all of us at MDVA.

Roslyn Jones and BG Birkhead photo

Roslyn Jones, MDVA Women Veterans/Inclusion Program Manager provided a resource table at the Maryland National Guard Job and Resource Fair.  Roslyn is shown here with Brigadier General Janeen L. Birckhead, Assistant Adjutant General - Army, Maryland National Guard.

Maryland Veterans Commissioner Stan Seidel was recently featured in a news article about his volunteer work with the Maryland Center for Veterans Education & Training (MCVET).

APG News Article

Volunteer Effort at Gold Star Families Monument in Annapolis

News from the Travis Manion Foundation: Annapolis Caretakers – We’re pleased to welcome you back to the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument on Saturday, April 30th from 10 AM – 1PM. This Operation Legacy Service project is a continuation of our Caretaker Program with the Woody Williams Foundation. YOU have added mulch beds at the monument and signage, planted Black eyed Susan’s, Daisies, Daffodils, Tulips, and other flowers, cleaned old debris and trash from the site, removed unsightly trees and shrubs and together have made the monument space catch the eye of MD 450 travelers … as it should! 

We will plant a sprawling butterfly garden and clean and weatherize the concrete around the monument. This service project is an opportunity for you to continue your service in the maintenance and beautification of the grounds at the Monument. Feel free to share ideas as we collaborate to make the monument shine. We hope to see you there.

Webpage: https://www.travismanion.org/events/operation-legacy/april-2022-annapolis-md-gold-star-families-memorial-monument/

Registration: https://donate.travismanion.org/event/operation-legacy-april-2022-annapolis-md/e400890

The Caretaker Program is intended to honor the living family members of fallen American Service Members through regular Operation Legacy service projects at the Monument in Annapolis. TMF Annapolis Spartans are inspired to recognize Gold Star Families and the legacy of their loved ones who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. The beatification of the monument space is a platform to serve the local community in the spirit of those longer with us.

The Gold Star Families Monument located in Annapolis is managed by the MDVA Cemeteries & Memorial Program.

State Partner News

Maryland's Commitment to Veterans

Spotlight on Education: Prince George's Community College

Veteran Shark Tank business pitch application has been extended! 

We received requests to extend the deadline.  We don’t want any of you to miss your opportunity to receive $15,000 to fund and grow your business.  So apply now!

The new deadline is Thursday June 30th.

Click the link for more details and the application:  Veteran Shark Tank info


Mental Health, Substance Use Services Database Launched for Marylanders

Dept of Health

The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and 211 Maryland announced the launch of a new database on PressOne.211MD.org that improves access for Marylanders looking for mental health and substance use disorder resources.

“Marylanders can now more easily find mental health and substance abuse services and providers that are specific to their needs,” said MDH Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. “Adding an enhanced 211 database creates a one-stop-shop for finding both crisis and general resources for mental health and substance use disorders.”

“Marylanders are increasingly relying on the internet to manage their physical and mental health,” said Quinton Askew, President and CEO of 211 Maryland. “Adding this enhanced 211 database to the ‘Press One’ website will meet people where they already are looking for information about mental health and substance use. Through our partnership with BHA and our statewide network of call centers, we will continue to support the health and well-being of all Marylanders.”

According to an MDH press release:

Developed by 211 Maryland and MDH’s Behavioral Health Administration (BHA), the new database was designed to help Marylanders find help that is local and convenient when they need it. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, 32 percent of adults surveyed reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder in January. More than 13 percent of people started or increased substance use to cope with stress.

The site offers new dropdown filters — including age, language, payment options, special populations and service type — which narrow search results and identify the specific treatment and recovery options visitors are aiming to access.

Useful Links:

Read the full press release.
Check out the new database: PressOne.211MD.org
Learn more about MDH mental health services.
Learn more about MDH substance use disorder services.

Office of the Secretary of State's Charities & Legal Services Division Second Annual Town Hall on Flags

The Office of the Secretary of State's Charities & Legal Services Division is pleased to announce our second Annual Town Hall on flags to inform the public about the history, protocol, and appropriate display of the Maryland flag and as it is flown with other flags.  

The Town Hall will be conducted virtually via Google Meet. 

The platform restricts attendance to the first 500 and does not accept advanced registration to reserve a spot for the Town Hall.

Date: Monday, April 25, 2022

Time: 10:00AM-11:00AM

Login: Click here or go to https://meet.google.com/obb-xcoo-iry

"NOTICE: This Town Hall will be recorded. A link to the recording will be made available on the Secretary of State's website after the conclusion of this Town Hall. By choosing to join the Town Hall following this notice, you are consenting to the recording as a part of this Town Hall."

Assistant Secretary of State, Kathy Smith, and Division Administrator, Michael Schlein, will lead the Town Hall event. 

We look forward to seeing you virtually on April 25th!

Questions?  Email townhall.sos@maryland.gov

Durable Medical Equipment graphic

2022 Session of the Maryland General Assembly has Adjourned

The Maryland General Assembly has completed work in Annapolis for the 2022 Legislative Session.  As a service to the veteran community, information on legislation of possible interest to veterans is provided below:

2022 Legislative Information

You may check the status of the legislation by visiting the:

Maryland General Assembly Website

Federal Partner News

Federal News

VA Maryland Health Care System Food Pantry

VA Women's Health Reengagement Training

Do you need all 4 parts of Medicare for Tricare for Life?

Ringing in your ears might be a sign of hearling loss

Webinar to cover inpact Parkinson's has on mental health

Tips to help with diabetes distress

May 12th: Gulf War Exposures and Health Concerns Virtual Class

Benefits Breakdown: Burn Pit Registry

Live Whole Health #118: Connecting Mind & Body session 1

Live Whole Health #119: Mindful Moment

Interested in the History of the VA? History of the VA in 100 Objects

National July 4th Veterans Art Competition

The Federal Government ViEducation ViEducation & Professional Development Symposium

Date: Thursday, May 5, 2022, Time: 9am-6pm EDT

Registration Required (at no cost) at fedgovedfair.vfairs.com  

(You are now entering a site hosted by a different Federal agency or company)

Access to event will be available until June 5th for registrants to continue to visit booths and view recorded presentations, OPM and school reps and presenters will only be at the event on May 5th

Description of Event:

The purpose of the event is to learn from exciting presentations, delivered by subject matter experts in higher education and the federal government, on mission critical topics. The federal government community can also meet representatives from the Federal Academic Alliance schools to learn how to take advantage of available education benefits. This is also a military spouse friendly event.

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

Team River Runner - Kyaking for Veterans:  teamriverrunner.org

For More Information Flier  Ribbon Cutting planned for May 1st at Riley's Lock, Poolesville Facebook

The Veterans Curation Program in Alexandria, VA is currently looking for post-9/11 applicants for their next five-month session beginning May 2, 2022. This paid transition program is part- or full-time and provides transferable skills while veterans work with managers to care for archaeological and archival collections from the US Army Corps of Engineers. Veterans will also receive paid time to work on their resume and cover letter, complete job searches, and work with managers to further their career goals. Applications and FAQs can be found at www.veteranscurationprogram.org


Chesapeake Shakespeare Company:

The Spring 2022 CSC Vets Class (Basic Training) will run on Saturday’s, 9am-12noon (EST), through June 18th.

This is a hybrid class: in-person, and/or online! This class is FREE for U.S. Military Veterans!

Please join fellow veterans to discover how Shakespeare’s text allows us to share the powerful, the personal, and the beautiful.


“My moods, thoughts, emotions, and life in general are far better for being part of this program.” D. – veteran of U.S. Marine Corps

Working with CSC Teaching Artists, the ensemble will explore Shakespeare’s text for personal connections. This program will culminate in a performance sharing for friends, family, and invited guests.

To register: Spring '22 Vets Class at CSC

Once you register, you’ll be sent a ZOOM link/password to join the Saturday sessions.

Join us in-person at The Studio (CSC) 206 E. Redwood St. Baltimore, MD 21202 ($5 garage parking), if you can!

Questions: Heneghan@chesapeakeshakespeare.com

410.244.8571 x113

Community Calendar

April 23, 2022

The Baltimore Station Fundraiser to benefit Veterans and men in programs at Baltimore Station

April 27, 2022

Virtual Welcome2VA for Post 9/11 Veterans

Government Contracting 101 Workshop 2022

April 26, 2022

Women Veterans Virtual Legal Clinic

April 28, 2022

University of Maryland Global Campus Military and Veteran Entrepreneur & Appreciation Fair, Hyattsville More Information

April 30, 2022

Discovering Horses Clinic for Active Duty Military & Veterans, Monkton

May 9, 2022

Our Community Salutes 2022 High School Enlistee Recognition Ceremony, Baltimore

May 12, 2022

Gulf War Exposures and Health Concerns Virtual Class

May 15, 2022

Carroll County Veterans Celebration, Westminster

June 8th and 9th, 2022

MDVA Women Veterans AppreSHEation

June 17, 2022

Veterans Legal Assistance Conference & Training, Baltimore


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.