30 December 2022 MDVA News and Announcements

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  December 30, 2022


Happy New Year

Message from MDVA Secretary George Owings


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As 2022 comes to a close, I am taking this moment to thank my fellow Veterans for the service you gave to our country.  I know that many of you continue to serve as employers, employees, small business owners, volunteers, and in your community making positive outcomes happen. Veterans have a talent for helping and the focus to get things done.

I also thank the dedicated workforce here at the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs for their tireless efforts to assist Veterans and their families.  The teamwork of these individuals supports the mission at MDVA each day and moves our efforts forward.

2023 is just ahead of us, and we will all face challenges almost as soon as that ball drops at midnight.  The training we received and the commitment we have, will carry us through.  If you see a battle buddy or a colleague stumble, reach out a helping hand.  If you need help, MDVA stands ready to assist you.

I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.


George W. Owings III

MDVA Website


The Maryland Veterans Service Animal Program is open for FY23 grant applications.  The notice of funding availability, application, and associated materials are available on the MDVA website.  For more information visit:


Maryland Veterans Service Animal Program


FY23 NOFA Information and Instructions


Grant Application


Budget Template (required to be attached to grant application)


A technical assistance call is scheduled for Friday January 6, 2023.  The call is for interested applicants and will include information on the Maryland Service Animal Program, application instructions, and expectations for grantees.  All are welcome.

Maryland Veterans Service Animal Program Grant: Technical Assistance Call
Friday, January 6, 2023 · 10:00am – 11:00am
Google Meet joining info
Video call link: https://meet.google.com/ukg-nurg-moh
Or dial: ‪(US) +1 585-495-2245‬ PIN: ‪798 712 344‬#

Application deadline is February 13, 2023 at 3:00pm

For questions please contact Toni Gianforti, Grants Specialist, at toni.gianforti@maryland.gov


MDVA Women Veterans/Inclusion Program

2023 Focus Group: February 2, 2023

Women Veterans Program

State Partner News


MCV program

News from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources


Maryland First Day Hikes to Welcome 2023
Ranger-Led and Self-Guided Hikes Available Across Maryland

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources invites all Marylanders to take a First Day Hike — the annual tradition for a fun, healthy way to welcome the New Year. State public lands will offer First Weekend hike opportunities across the state from December 31, 2022 – January 2, 2023. Read more.


Nominations Accepted for Sport Fisheries Achievement Award
Recognition for Conservation, Education, and Sportsmanship

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission are seeking nominations for the annual Maryland Sport Fisheries Achievement Award, a celebration of conservation, education, and sportsmanship. Read more.


Cold-Stunning Threatens Aquatic Wildlife - Citizens Can Help
Lethargic Sea Turtles, Marine Mammals Should Be Reported

Cold stunning occurs in late autumn and early winter when the Chesapeake Bay’s water temperatures start to fall. Annually, marine animal rescue organizations respond to thousands of cold-stunned animals along the East Coast. Read more.


Maryland Icebreaking Fleet Readies for Winter
Newest Vessel in Service Gets National Recognition

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is ready to clear paths on Maryland’s waterways this winter with icebreaking boats stationed around the Chesapeake Bay. DNR’s Hydrographic Operations team has four large boats that can drive through ice sheets on the water’s surface to allow navigation. Read more.


Groundbreaking Wild Turkey Research Set to Begin in Maryland
Citizens Encouraged to Help by Reporting Winter Flock Sightings

This winter, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is kicking off the first comprehensive study of wild turkeys ever conducted in the state. Read more.

Governor Hogan flips coin at 2022 Military Bowl

Governor Hogan Flips Coin at 2022 Military Bowl and Welcomes Medal of Honor Recipients to Annapolis.  Read More Here

MDOT Doubling Lyft Rideshare Credits to $10 to Give
Marylanders a Safe Ride Home

GLEN BURNIE, MD  – The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration’s (MDOT MVA) Highway Safety Office announced today that it has doubled the Lyft rideshare credit to $10 to encourage more Marylanders to take advantage of the safe ride option this holiday season. The rideshare credits are available through a grant from the Governors Highway Safety Association, Responsibility.org and Lyft.

According to preliminary data, so far this month (December 1 – 13, 2022) 500 people have been arrested for driving under the influence, with at least one arrest occurring in each of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions. MDOT is encouraging Marylanders to take advantage of the free rideshare credits to put toward a safe alternative to driving impaired. Each Marylander is eligible to receive one $10 rideshare credit each weekend while supplies last. A select number of rideshare credits will be available between 4 p.m. and 2 a.m. on the following dates: 

  • Thursday, December 15 through Sunday, December 18 (CODE: SAVEALIFE2022)
  • Thursday, December 22 through Sunday, December 25 (CODE: will be available on 12/21)
  • Thursday, December 29 through Sunday, January 1 (CODE: will be available on 12/28)

To redeem the $10 credit, Marylanders should open the Lyft app, choose “Payment” from the menu on the top left corner, and scroll to the “Add Lyft Pass” section. After inputting the code found above or at ZeroDeathsMD.gov/Rideshare, $10 will be applied to the user’s account. Each rider is limited to one $10 credit each weekend through the entirety of the campaign.

In 2021, 173 people died and more than 2,800 were injured on Maryland roadways due to impaired driving. Additionally,, more than 15,430 people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs — 1,616 of those arrests occurring between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

In addition to the credits, the MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office will promote educational messaging through Be the Sober Driver and Be the Make A Plan Driver on advertising platforms.

Learn more about the MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office at ZeroDeathsMD.gov or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @ZeroDeathsMD.

Announcing iDrive Maryland

Expanding access to affordable vehicle loans for Marylanders with disabilities, particularly those in rural areas of the state, via low interest rates, flexible lending criteria, and expanded re-payment terms.

  • Interest rates currently offered at 3%*
  • Loan amounts from $500 - $70,000*
  • Up to 120-months (10 year) repayment terms for some vehicles*
  • Loans for both adapted AND non-adapted vehicles

* some restrictions apply

For more information, contact the Maryland Department of Disabilities, AT Financial Loan Program at 1-800-832-4827 or email mdtap.atlp@maryland.gov.


Federal Partner News

Federal News

Record pay increase for Veterans receiving VA compensation benefits

VA will begin processing PACT Act benefits claims for all Veterans and survivors on January 1st

Spread the word about Pact Act Eligibility

ChooseVA Pact Act Benefits

New measure allows those exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune to file lawsuits

Registration Opens Soon - National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic

Mental Health Care is Health Care, Health.mil article

Live Whole Health #150: More than you have imagined

Live Whole Health #151: Tai Chi Moving Meditation

VA: Healthy recipe swaps for the holidays and beyond

How technology supports Veteran's health and wellness

Virtual Sports4Vets Throwdown returns to help #VetsLiveFit

Veteran eXpeRience Brings a new reality in health care for Veterans

VA launches largest ever liver cancer screening study

Elizabeth Dole Foundation presents opportunities that give Veteran Caregivers, youth a voice

Discover how to spot pension poaching scammers and report potential fraud

Free career training program a proven benefit for transitioning military families

Scholarship program for aspiring VA mental health professionals


Center for Women Veterans 2023 Women Veterans Trailblazers Initiative “Women Making the Difference” - Call for Nomination Packages

Visit Women Veteran Trailblazers Initiative - Center for Women Veterans (CWV) (va.gov) for information on nomination package requirements. Deadline for nomination packages for the 2023 Center for Women Veterans Trailblazers Initiative will be Friday, January 13, 2023.  Self-nominations are welcomed.

Be Vigilant of VA Caregiver Support Stipend Scams

Caregivers and Veterans, we’ve recently learned of a potential scam about a VA Caregiver Stipend Recoupment. Please do not respond to such requests, as VA will not email you a request for money.

If you receive a suspicious email from the Department of Veterans Affairs, DO NOT open the email or click on any attachments or links. VA does not send emails asking for personal information, threatening emails, or emails claiming to take adverse actions on claimants or beneficiaries (jail or lawsuits). If you receive any of these emails or are in doubt about any communications appearing to be from VA, please contact VA directly at 1 (800) 827-1000.

Protect yourself against potential scams with these tips:

  • Do not provide personal, benefits, medical or financial details online or over the phone. Federal agencies will not contact you unless you make a request.
  • Do not click on online ads or engage with social media that seem suspicious.
  • Check for https://at the start of website addresses.
  • Enable multi-factor authentication on all accounts.
  • Work with Veteran service providers you already know.

Visit the Cybercrime Support Network for additional resources to help Veterans, service members, and their families combat cybercrime.

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.

Carroll County

The Carroll County Veteran Commission held a holiday luncheon.  Roslyn Jones, Women Veterans/Inclusion Program Manager attended representing MDVA.

Community News

News from Community Building Art Works:

More Than One Story: Arts Program for Women & Nonbinary Military & Veterans Join Community Building Art Works in a virtual info session to learn more about our upcoming program for women and non-binary military (Active Duty and Veterans), More Than One Story. The upcoming monthly program will use live, interactive online art and creative writing workshops held over several weeks to create a “Virtual Community Center” where women and non-binary military members can gather and experience belonging in a healthy, safe, and connected environment.

This program is partially funded by the SSG Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program through the VA.

Choose an Info Session date/time and Register at: https://CBAW_MTOS_infosession.eventbrite.com

For more information, email info@cbaw.org. Visit www.cbaw.org to learn more about Community Building Art Works.

Care Coordination and Claims Clinic

Community Calendar

January 7, 2023

Mind, Body & Business, Women Entrepreneur Training, Baltimore

January 12, 2023

Virtual Diabetes Self Management Program, 6 weeks beginning January 12th

January 19, 2023

Blue Star Families Starbucks Coffee Connections, Hanover

Maryland's Commitment to Veterans training: Nutrition and Neuroscience: A Discussion on Optimizing Brain Health

January 21, 2023

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

February 2, 2023

MDVA Women Veterans/Inclusion Program Focus Group, Registration

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.