16 December 2022 MDVA News and Announcements

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  December 16, 2022


MDVA Service & Benefits Program Assisting Veterans

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MDVA has Benefits Specialists working at offices around the state, who stand ready to help you with questions about the benefits for which you are eligible and to assist you with filing claims for those benefits.

Since the beginning of the 2023 Fiscal Year on July 1st, the MDVA Service and Benefits Program staff have assisted with 1,767 claims.  This work has resulted in $1,911,957 being awarded to Maryland Veterans and dependents in the form of compensation and pension benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.  In this same time period of time, $11,290,654 in retroactive benefits was awarded to Veterans and dependents represented by MDVA staff.

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 Welcomes two new staff-members to the Service and Benefits Program

Corey Bryant  

Corey Bryant is the newest Veterans Benefits Specialist working at the MDVA office in Camp Springs.  Corey has previously worked in the banking industry and he has a passion for customer service.  Corey looks forward to a meaningful career working with Veterans and making a difference.

Ashley Lahm also recently joined the MDVA team and she will be stationed in the Easton office.  She has worked in customer service for 20 years, with the majority of that time spent managing a dental office.  She strongly believes in supporting Veterans and is looking forward to her new career at MDVA.


Katie's retirement

MDVA Secretary George Owings and the MDVA staff in Annapolis celebrated the career of Katie Sonntag, Executive Assistant to the Secretary on the occasion of her retirement from state service.  Katie served as the Executive Assistant to several MDVA Secretaries over more than 17 years.  She is retiring from the state of Maryland after 34+ years as a state employee. Katie is seated on the left, wearing the white sweater.  Katie is the daughter of a Navy Captain, and we wish her Fair Winds and Following Seas in her retirement.

MDVA Website

Charlotte Hall Veterans Home December Newsletter

Calvert County Veterans Commission

MDVA Secretary George Owings attended the meeting and holiday potluck for the Calvert County Veterans Commission.  With him in this photo are Pat McCoy, newly elected as the Vice Chair of the Commission (on the left) and Dr. Brandon Temple, who is the newly elected Chair of the Commission (on the right).

Governor's reception

Governor Larry Hogan and First Lady Yumi Hogan held an open house for Maryland state employees.  In this photo from MDVA are: Denise Nooe, Stacey Crawford and Roslyn Jones.

In other news for Stacey Crawford, who is a graduate of the Bowie Citizens Police Academy - Stacey volunteered with "Shop with a Cop" this past weekend. Stacey enjoyed assisting the children and their families at this special event.

Stacey Travers

State Partner News


MD Department of Labor

Maryland Fifth Graders Invited to Submit Arbor Day Posters


Annual Contest Taking Submissions until January 20, 2023

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Forest Conservancy District Boards invite all Maryland fifth graders in private and public schools to participate in the annual Arbor Day Poster Contest.

The theme for 2023 is: “Trees Are Terrific…and Cool Our Communities!”

Students are encouraged to share their appreciation for Maryland’s forests and trees through original works of art. The top three winning posters will receive tree plantings at the artists’ schools. Read more


Atlantic Population Canada Goose Season Begins Dec. 17
Split Season Ends Jan.1, Resumes Jan. 13

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that Maryland’s Atlantic Population Canada goose hunting season opens Saturday. The season contains two segments, from Dec. 17 through Jan. 1, 2023, and Jan. 13 through Jan. 31, 2023. Read more.


Winter Trout Stocking Begins in Maryland Waters
‘Preseason’ Stocking to Make Room at Hatcheries

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has begun stocking more than 300,000 trout in Maryland waters. Preseason stocking will continue until February 2023. Read more


Federal Partner News

Federal News

PACT Act Veteran Public Service Announcement

Choose VA PACT Act Benefits

Jon Stewart: Apply for your Pact Act benefits today

Live Whole Health #148: Investing in Gratitude

Live Whole Health #149: Connecting mind and body #9, with a Twist!

VA Holiday Survival Guide for Women Veterans

Social Security Administration Launches Redesigned Website at SSA.gov

VA’s Office of Outreach, Transition and Economic Development (OTED) will host a Virtual Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act Symposium: Honoring Our Promise – Increasing Awareness on Friday, December 16, 2022. Affectionately named in honor of Sergeant First Class (SFC) Heath Robinson, the symposium will feature information on the PACT Act, as well as other benefits and services available to Service members, Veterans, their families, caregivers, survivors, and advocates. This informative and educational symposium will include an overview of the PACT Act, a presentation on how to apply for benefits, and presentations on VA disability, survivor benefits, Vet Centers, and measures aimed at preventing fraud. The symposium is open to everyone, particularly Veterans, family members, and caregivers, as well as those who regularly interact with the Veteran community. This symposium will also provide attendees with information on PACT Act benefits and claims filing, as well as ways to seek additional VA support. VA employees are invited to join and to share this flyer with any interested party.



Date: December 16, 2022

Time: 1:00-4:00pm (EST)        

Quick Join: Click Here to Join

Link to Join: https://veteransaffairs.webex.com/veteransaffairs/j.php?MTID=md8c3ba24222d04df1030dd33a6352519

Phone: 1-404-397-1596, Access Code: 2763 374 0710

Audience: Veterans Nationwide, Service members, Family Members, Caregivers, Survivors, VA Staff and Outreach Coordinators, Veteran Advocates, National Association of County Veteran Service Officers (NACVSO), National Association State Department of Veterans Affairs (NASDVA) and Veteran Service Organizations (VSO).


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

Operation Homefront's Transitional Housing - Villages in Gaithersburg is accepting applicants.  Read More Here


Baltimore County Library - Towson Branch offering Veterans Book Group


Star Behavioral Health Providers is providing training and free CEUs on Understanding the Military Experience.  Read More Here


DAV Patriot Boot Camp: Empowering Vetrepreneurs

Community Calendar

December 16, 2022

NABVETS Claims Clinic, Largo

Blue Star Families Starbucks Coffee Connections, Annapolis

December 17, 2022

Ugly Sweater Get-Together, American Legion, Laurel

Emotional Life Skills Course, sponsored by Women Veterans United Committee, Inc.

January 19, 2022

Blue Star Families Starbucks Coffee Connections, Hanover

January 21, 2022

4 Mile Run/Walk/Ruck, Bel Air supporting a member of the 1-175th Association

February 23, 2023

Free Hearing Screening for Veterans, American Legion Post 82, La Plata

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.