21 April 2023 MDVA News and Announcements

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  April 21, 2023


The Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs Announces Nearly $220,000 in Grants to Service Dog and Equine Therapy Programs

Grants will Help Seven Organizations Expand Programming and Improve Veteran Mental Health

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Tony Woods announced that the department has awarded nearly $220,000 to programs in Maryland that serve veterans. The Maryland Veterans Service Animal Program made seven awards to service dog and equine therapy organizations to implement projects that improve veterans’ mental health.

“Working in partnership with our state legislature and nonprofit organizations, the Maryland Veterans Service Animal Program is improving the behavioral health of our veterans,” said Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Tony Woods. “I am thankful to these seven organizations for their commitment to our veteran community and I look forward to seeing their success.”

Established in 2017, the Maryland Veterans Service Animal Program is housed in the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs Communications, Outreach, and Advocacy Program.  The program provides grants to improve mental health and overall well-being for veterans living in Maryland or who are receiving care at a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or Department of Defense medical facility. Since the program was created in 2017, it has awarded $180,000 in grants.

 “Caring for our veterans’ mental health is a critical aspect of their health care,” said Maryland Department of Health Secretary Dr. Laura Herrera Scott, who served in the U.S. Army Reserve. “These grant awards reflect our commitment to expanding behavioral health care statewide and leaving no one behind.”

“Veterans offer unique skills and incredible passion,” said Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks. “These grants support their efforts, which, in turn, support the community.”

“We are excited to see that our partners at the Warrior Canine Connection have been awarded one of these grants,” said Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Josh Kurtz. “The Warrior Canine Connection has a facility where they raise and train puppies on 80-acres of parkland in Seneca Creek State Park; we are very proud of this partnership and the service they provide to our veterans.” 

Leveraging the state’s funding, grant recipients will be able to connect more veterans to service and emotional support dogs and to equine therapy.  Recipients will also be able to train more staff on military cultural competency and suicide prevention.  Organizations receiving grants are located in diverse areas of the state, from Cecil County to Montgomery County, in order to serve a more diverse population of veterans.

To see the full list of awards, go to https://veterans.maryland.gov/maryland-veterans-service-animal-program-and-fund/

The Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs is a state government executive department with a service mission to assist veterans, active duty service members, their families and dependents, in securing benefits earned through military service.  Learn more at veterans.maryland.gov.

MDVA Website

Carroll County Veterans Roundtable

A Veterans Roundtable was held in Carroll County this week.  Participating in the roundtable, in this photo from left to right are: State Senator Justin Ready, Lt. Governor Aruna Miller, MDVA Secretary Anthony Woods and Carroll County Commission President, Ed Rothstein.

Photo courtesy of the Executive Office of the Governor

Ft. Meade Iftar Dinner

MDVA Secretary Anthony Woods attended the Ramadan Iftar Dinner at Ft. George G. Meade as the guest of Colonel Michael Sapp, Garrison Commander.

Baltimore Vet Center

Secretary Anthony Woods (center) participated in the Vietnam Veteran Commemoration at the Baltimore Vet Center.

Mel Hiers

Mel Hiers, Administrative Assistant with the MDVA Cemetery and Memorial Program, also volunteers as a Campaign Coordinator with the Maryland Charity Campaign.  Mel was named the 2022 Coordinator of the Year for her dedicated efforts to help other MDVA employees participate in the Maryland Charity Campaign. She has also been asked to join the 2023 Charity Campaign Board.  Mel is shown here on the grounds of Crownsville Veterans Cemetery, holding her award. Congratulations to Mel for this well deserved honor!

Maryland Veterans Commission

The members of the Maryland Veterans Commission received a briefing from Jeff Nash and Joshua Lubin of Sheppard Pratt Veterans Services Center.  The April Commission meeting was held at the Platoon Veterans Service Center at Goodwill in Frederick.

State Partner News

Maryland Flag logo

The Office of the Secretary of State's Charities & Legal Services Division is pleased to announce our 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 24, 2023

Time: 10:00AM-11:00AM

Login: Click here or go to https://meet.google.com/xcd-qkew-ndc

"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 24th!

Questions?  Email townhall.sos@maryland.gov

Honor Flight Maryland Announces First Trip Date

Honor Flight

Seeking WWII, Korean and Vietnam Veterans who may be interested in visiting DC Memorials, as well as, volunteers and guardians to help. Honor Flight Maryland transports America's veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices. Helping every single veteran in America, willing and able of getting on a plane or a bus, visit THEIR memorial - Honor Flight Maryland.

Register Now

We are excited to announce Saturday, June 17th as Honor Flight Maryland’s first Mission of 2023.

Please encourage Maryland Veterans to sign up as soon as possible, so they can go on an all-expense paid hero’s journey to Washington, DC to see memorials built in their honor.

Priority is given to World War II, Korean and catastrophically ill Veterans of any era.  All other Veterans will be served based on their application date.  Any Veterans not selected for this Mission will be selected for a future trip.

As a reminder, all Veterans must complete a preliminary application through our website: 


Honor Flight

Shown in this photo are, from left to right: 

American Legion Department of Maryland Commander Ronald Holcombe (who also serves on the Maryland Veterans Commission), Maryland Veterans Commissioner Mike Moore, American Legion Post 136 Commander Greg Gigliotti, and Joseph Pruden, Military and Veterans Affairs Liaison for Rep. Glenn Ivey (MD -04).

Greenbelt American Legion Post 136 Hosts Welcome Event for the First “Lone Eagle Honor Flight” Veterans from Puerto Rico

 On Wednesday, April 12th the American Legion hosted a 60-person contingent of WWII, Korean, Vietnam Veterans and escorts for a welcome luncheon at Greenbelt American Legion Post 136.  According to Lone Eagle Honor Flight Network National Director Bobbie Bradley, this was the first participating group from Puerto Rico.  The group landed at BWI Airport and was greeted by over 30 soldiers from the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade stationed at Ft. Meade.  The soldiers joined the Honor Flight Veterans for lunch at Greenbelt Post 136.  Maryland Department of Veterans Commissioners Mike Moore (Past Commander of Post 136) and Ron Holcombe (Commander of the American Legion’s Department of Maryland) welcomed the Veterans to Maryland on behalf of Gov. Wes Moore and MDVA Secretary Anthony Woods.  They were joined by Joseph Pruden, Military and Veterans Affairs Liaison for Rep. Glenn Ivey (MD-04), and Post 136 Commander Greg Gigliotti, who extended greetings to the Honor Flight participants.

After lunch, the participants boarded buses visit the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, the Iwo Jima Memorial, and to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.  On Thursday, April 13th, the Honor Flight participants visited the Navy Memorial, the Eisenhower Memorial, the DAV Memorial, the FDR/MLK Memorials, the WWII Memorial, and ended their exciting tour at the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial.

That evening these Veterans were treated to a dinner at Dewey-Lowman American Legion Post 109, in Halethorpe, MD.  After a delicious meal and some great conversations, they returned to the BWI Airport hotel and caught a flight back to Puerto Rico the following day.

Spotlight on Education:

The Army Reserve Ambassadors from Maryland would like to nominate students for the Army Reserve Minuteman Scholarship. The scholarships helps cover higher education costs, while simultaneously prepares the cadet as a future Army Reserve officer. Application Deadline:  August 4, 2023

Types of Scholarships.

  1. 4-year scholarship may only be awarded to incoming college freshmen attending a host ROTC program.
  2. 3-year awarded to an incoming college sophomore that pays the last 3 years of benefits provided the applicant successfully meets the requirements to contract.
  3. 2-year awarded to an incoming college junior or graduate student that pays the last 2 years of benefits provided the applicant successfully meets the requirements to contract.

For additional information:  https://www.usar.army.mil/MinutemanCampaign/

Or contact Colonel (Ret.) Edna W. Cummings, Army Reserve Ambassador-Maryland   Ccllc2008@verizon.net

Maryland Department of Natural Resources News:

‘Welcome to Boating and Fishing’ Clinics Scheduled for May

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Marine Trades Association of Maryland, Annapolis School of Seamanship, and the BoatUS Foundation for Safety and Clean Water are sponsoring free “Welcome to Boating and Fishing” clinics May 6-7 at Sandy Point State Park’s boating ramps. Read more.

2023 Session of the Maryland General Assembly has Ended

The Maryland General Assembly has completed 2023 Legislative Session. As a service to the veteran community, information on legislation of possible interest to veterans is provided below:

2023 Legislative Information

You may check the status of other legislation considered in 2023 by visiting the:

Maryland General Assembly Website

Federal Partner News

May 3rd Claims Fair

Federal News

PACT Act Dashboard

Need Internet or a Tablet for Appointments?

VA, NIH launch study of Gulf War Illness

What is VA's Veterans Pension?

National Center for PTSD Newsletters

Live Whole Health #166: Breath as a tool for health and well-being

Live Whole Health # 167: Giving Yourself Time

Whole Health: What Matters to You

April is Whole Health Month

Social Security Administration: Protect Yourself from Scams

Free Lifetime Pass to National Parks, Other Pubic Lands

Carry the Load

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

Mentoring Circle for Women of Platoon 22 Families: Read More Here


Veterans Curation Project in Alexandria is Hiring, Read More Here

At ServingTogether we provide local veteran resources, information and services to Active Duty service members, Veterans, Family members and Caregiver in the DMV region. We do this through Coordinated care, Community education and our Collaborative. Below you will find some information on all three approaches of care and outreach

Community Resources

ServingTogether, a program of EveryMind, was launched in 2011 to coordinate community-based resources for service members, veterans and their families in the DC region. Our mission is to make it easier for all those who have served in the Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves, and their families to access the local services they need. 

We are affiliated with a larger network of coordinated care, with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) initiative called AmericaServes. We are one of 18 communities throughout the United States serving as a hub of health and human service related providers. The goal is to help reduce down the number of times a veteran or military-connected individual has to get bounced around to different providers or lost in seeking to find the right resource. This also allows us to be connected to a broader community of providers throughout the United States, and refer veterans to the closest provider to their community.

Please read more about ServingTogether's extensive services here.

News from Community Building Art Works:

More Than One Story - Next Virtual Orientation May 16th!

Our monthly program for Women and Non-Binary Military has begun, but if you are still interested in participating, it's not too late. Interested individuals must attend an upcoming orientation to participate. Visit www.cbaw.org/mtos for more details.

CBAW Loves... A Community Building Art Works Book Club Podcast

Hosted by Seema Reza (CEO, CBAW/ author, When the World Breaks Open & A Constellation of Half Lives) and produced by Amelia Bane. Each episode Seema invites a rotating cast of fellow writers and authors to discuss a book of the month. Through the podcast, we will continue virtually building community and fostering genuine connection through reading. Episode 1, parts 1 and 2, are live on Apple Podcast, Spotify, and YouTube. For more details and to learn about our next book, please visit www.cbaw.org/podcast.

Collaborative Painting Project - Wednesdays in May

Are you looking for community as you approach Memorial Day? Join other Veterans and Community Members to create a Collaborative Painting in the month of May. Final digital image will be displayed at CBAW's Virtual Memorial Day Event. This year, participants are able to choose any medium to create their piece. We only ask that participants create it on 8"x8" mixed media paper that can be scanned using the same color palette as the original image. For more details and to register, please visit https://2023cbawcollaborativepaintingproject.eventbrite.comRegistration ends on April 28th.

Visit www.cbaw.org to learn more about Community Building Art Works. For more information, email info@cbaw.org. Follow us on social media Facebook | Instagram | Twitter 

Community Calendar

April 21, 2023

NABVETS Veterans Claims Clinic, Largo

April 22, 2023

Blue Star Families Walk, Run Roll Teen 3K, Ft. Meade

April 25, 2023

Maryland Job Fair, Patuxent River

April 27, 2023

2023 Women Veteran Entrepreneurs Virtual Conference

April 28, 2023

VA Claims Clinic and Resource Fair, Baltimore

April 29, 2023

Discovering Horses Clinic, Pre-register to hold your spot, Monkton

Chesapeake Cycling Club's C3 - Tri-County Classic supporting Wounded Warriors, Easton

May 2, 2023

MILVET Net: A Military & Veteran Networking Event, Adelphi

May 3, 2023

PACT Act Veterans Claims Clinic, Clarksville, Registration

May 4, 2023

Veterans Stand Down, Perry Point

May 4-7, 2023

Warriors At Ease Combined Yoga & Meditation Training, Takoma Park

May 5, 2023

First Friday Vetworking, Columbia

May 6, 2022

Carry the Load, Annapolis

May 7, 2023

2nd Annual Veterans Celebration of Carroll County, Westminster

May 9, 2023

Annapolis Vet Center Community Open House & Resource Fair, Annapolis

May 11-13, 2023

WELCOME HOME! A Nation Honors our Vietnam Veterans and their Families, Washington, DC

May 20, 2023

Care Coordination & Claims Clinic, Columbia

May 23, 2023

7th Annual Sgt. Alfred B. Hilton Memorial Fundraiser, Bel Air

May 24, 2023

Veterans Resource Day, LaPlata

May 25 - 29, 2023

The Eyes of Freedom Traveling Exhibit, Hereford High School, Parkton

AMVETS Award Ceremony

Cindy McGrew, Founder and CEO of Operation Second Chance was honored by the AMVETS Department of Maryland for her work supporting Veterans and their families.  Shown in this photo are AMVETS State Commander Edward W. McKinnon and Ms. Cindy McGrew.

MDVA was well represented at the ceremony honoring Ms. McGrew.  Guests included MDVA Deputy Secretary Robert Finn, Denise Nooe, MDVA Deputy Director of Communications and Outreach, Maryland Veterans Commission Chairman KT Tyler and Commissioner Denise Perry.

Carroll County Veterans Advisory Council Meeting

The Carroll County Veterans Advisory Council met this week at American Legion Post 31.  In this photo are Bill Murphy, Executive Director of Friends of Disabled Veterans of Carroll County, Judge Brian Deleonardo, Carroll County Circuit Court, Josh Marks, Haven Shoemaker, State’s Attorney for Carroll County and Charles Wheatley III, Esq.

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.