14 July 2023 MDVA News and Announcments

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  July 14, 2023


Message from MDVA Secretary Anthony Woods:

Dear friends —

This week, Governor Wes Moore visited the MDVA’s Headquarters to affirm his support for the 355,000 veterans living in Maryland and our work in assisting them and their families. We discussed our shared vision for the Department as we work collaboratively to ensure no veterans or dependents are forgotten. As one of only a handful of veteran governors in the U.S. today, Governor Moore cares deeply about our heroes and we’re grateful for his continued support.

Tony Woods

Governor Moore and Secretary Woods

MDVA Secretary Anthony Woods greets Governor Wes Moore as the Governor arrives at MDVA.

Photo courtesy of the Executive Office of the Governor

Governor Moore with Annapolis staff

Governor Moore with the MDVA Annapolis Team

From left to right: Denise Nowlin, Grant Administrator, Tom Johnson, Procurement Officer, Morgan Murphy, Senior Advisor, Deputy Secretary Robert Finn, Denise Nooe, Deputy Director Communications & Outreach, Peter Pantzer, Chief of Staff, Governor Wes Moore, Secretary Anthony Woods, Sabrina Minney, Administrative Specialist I, Alayna Charland, Director of Finance & Administration, Andrew Libraty, Special Assistant to the Secretary, Stacey Crawford, Administrative Specialist III, Mikel Hicks, Director of Fair Practices.

Not available for the photo: Dana Burl, Director, Communications & Outreach, Roslyn Jones, Women Veterans/Inclusion Program Manager, Toni Gianforti, Grants Specialist, Lori Pinson, Director of Procurement and Germaine Prince, Air Force Fellow.

Photo courtesy of the Executive Office of the Governor

MDVA Secretary Anthony Woods is first guest on Veterans  SITREP

Maryland Flag Waiving

Veterans SITREP, a production of WHFC 91.1 FM Radio at Harford County Community College, provides a platform to connect veterans, their families, friends and support networks to address veterans' issues and provide information about resources that will help veterans in their lives. Colonel Bill Montgomery (U.S. Army, Retired) will interview featured guests involved in the veteran community.


MDVA Secretary Anthony Woods joined COL Montgomery as his first guest. Listen here

MDVA Website

Anne Arundel Claims Clinic

Wellspring of Life Farm

Wellspring of Life Farm (WLF), a MDVA Service Animal Grant Program recipient, utilized a portion of their grant award to purchase a pony driving cart and a horse driving cart for their equine therapy program that serves military veterans, first responders and their families. Pictured are Veterans Damon Goldsmith and Bob Kreisel in the cart with therapy pony, Ami. The custom carts were designed by WLF. Also pictured are Toni Gianforti, MDVA Grants Specialist (center) and WLF volunteers Janet Gardner and Glenn Kohler who assist in the driving sessions. 

Photo Credit: Dawn Leung, WLF Executive Director

State Partner News

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline:

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

Marylanders who are experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis should call or text 988. Learn more at 988.maryland.gov and access free community outreach materials in our 988 Toolkit.  Maryland veterans and their loved ones can call 988 and press 1 to transfer to the Veterans Crisis Line. Press 2 for Spanish. Press 3 for LGBTQIA+ support.

The next meeting of the Governor's Commission on Suicide Prevention will be held virtually on September 20th at 1 to 3pm. These meetings are open to the public and are live-streamed from Maryland's Commission on Suicide Prevention's Facebook page.

Trained Military Assistance Provider Program

Service Dogs flier

Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs

Maryland Flag Waiving

As a coordinating office within the Executive Department, the Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs​ connects the small business community to greater economic opportunities in both the public and private sectors, while implementing and monitoring small, minority, women, and veteran preference procurement programs across 70 state agencies.

Stay connected to the many opportunities for training, networking, and business development that are taking place across Maryland and on virtual platforms. Here is a highlight of some of the events coming up this month. 

07/17/2023 - Propel Your Sales Using LinkedIn 30 Minutes Per Day
07/18/2023 - How to Create a Cybersecurity Compliance Checklist
07/19/2023 - Creating Inclusive Business Opportunities
07/20/2023 - Increase Your Visibility on eMMA
07/20/2023 - Minority Outreach Fair
07/25/2023 - Crafting a Compelling Capability Statement
07/25/2023 - Responding to Solicitations on eMMA
07/27/2023 - State Procurement 101
07/31/2023 - Maintaining Your Vendor Profile on eMMA

Check out the full listing of small business events online at goMDsmallbiz.maryland.gov.

The Back to School Brigade with Operation Homefront, DCNG Family Program, and MDARNG Child and Youth Program will be on August 12, 2023 from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM at the B&O Railroad Museum. 

Join the Back-to-School Brigade and give your kids the head start they deserve! Operation Homefront is proud to offer school supplies for military families to alleviate the financial burden of back-to-school shopping. Don't wait, register today to secure your spot! But hurry, supplies are limited and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Only military-dependent children in Kindergarten through 12th grade for the 2023-2024 school year are eligible, so make sure to bring identification for all registered children. Get ready for a successful school year with Operation Homefront!

Back-to-School Supplies in Baltimore, MD - Operation Homefront

News from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Qualification Shoots for Managed Deer Hunts

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has released the 2023 Shooter Qualification Schedule for managed hunts, which includes more than 20 sessions at 11 locations across the state. The events allow hunters to take the necessary proficiency test required to obtain a Shooter Qualification Card to participate in the state’s managed deer hunts scheduled in the fall and winter. Read more.

Waterfowl Blind Site Licensing Process Now Available Online

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering an online process for Maryland hunters to apply for a 2023-2024 waterfowl blind site license, which reserves a location for a landowner or authorized individual to place a hunting blind. Hunters may enter the annual lottery now through July 25. Read more.

Maryland Natural Resource Photo Contest Deadline is August 1

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is still accepting entries for its annual photo contest. Entries may include images from anywhere in Maryland featuring birds, insects, flora, recreation, scenic landscapes, weather, and wildlife. Photographers may submit entries until 5 p.m. on Aug. 1. Read more.

Federal Partner News

Federal News

White House Report: Reducing Military and Veteran Suicide

Combatting PTSD with vital support for Veterans

The latest issue of Military Exposures & Your Health is now online

VA partners with Arthritis Foundation

Join VA's Million Veteran Program

Water: How much should I drink?

Live Whole Health #176: Mindfulness in a minute

Live Whole Health #177: Playing with clouds

VA Solicitation of Nominations for the Appointment to the Advisory Committee on Tribal and Indian Affairs

Summer fun: Veterans save on access to parks, campgrounds across country

2023 National Wheelchair Games Highlights

PACT Act benefits: claims received by 8/9 will be eligible for 12 months of backdated compensation:

Thanks to the PACT Act, millions of Veterans who were exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances are now eligible for VA health care and benefits. While there is no deadline to apply for PACT Act-related benefits, there is urgency. Most Veterans and survivors who apply for benefits or submit an “Intent to File” by August 9, if granted, will have their benefits backdated to August 10th of last year – the day that President Biden signed the PACT Act into law.

Dear VA Maryland Health Care System E-news Subscriber:

Now that recreational marijuana is officially legal across Maryland, marijuana use remains prohibited under federal law. As a federal agency, the VA Maryland Health Care System is required to comply with federal laws (U.S. Controlled Substances Act) and not individual state laws. Veteran participation in state marijuana programs does not affect eligibility for VA care and services. 

What does this mean for Veteran patients? 

  • VA clinicians may only prescribe medications that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for medical use. At present, most products with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) or other cannabinoids are not approved for this purpose.
  • VA providers may not complete paperwork or forms required for Veterans to participate in state-approved marijuana programs.
  • VA pharmacists may not fill any prescriptions for medical marijuana.
  • Focusing on a Veteran’s overall health, VA providers may change treatment plans—on a case-by-case basis—based on the Veteran’s marijuana use, and these changes should be made in partnership with the Veteran patient.

For more information, please visit: VA and Marijuana - What Veterans need to know.

Thank you.

VA Maryland Health Care System

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

Save the Date: Gilchrist's annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day, Sunday, April 7th, 2024


Veterans Yoga Project offers free classes and online practice library


Empowering Veterans - A free series to inspire, educate and network those serving and those who have served our nation.


A Veteran Model Building Club is forming in Salisbury


Reserve Organization of America Children's Writing Contest

News from Project Opportunity

Project Opportunity, which provides FREE entrepreneur training for Veterans has opened enrollment for the Fall session:

Veteran Training on Eastern Shore, Flier

Veteran Training in Howard County, Flier

Veteran Training in Baltimore region, Flier

Veteran Training in Prince Georges County, Flier

Veteran Training in Southern Maryland Region, Flier

Spouses of Veterans, Active Duty and Guard/Reserve Personnel Training, Takoma Park

Community Calendar

July 14, 2023

Baltimore Station Fundraiser: Crab Feast & Bull Roast, Baltimore

PTSD Symposium, Westminster

July 15, 2023

PTSD911 Documentary Film Screening, Westminster

July 16, 2023

Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) Day of Affirmation, Washington, DC

July 19, 2023

Free Yoga Class for Emergency Responders and Military Personnel, Chesapeake College, Wye Mills

July 21, 2023

PTSD911 Documentary Film Screening, Ocean City

July 22, 2023

Howard County Quarterly Flag Retirement Ceremony, Ellicott City

July 25, 2023

U. S. Access Board Town Hall Meeting, Baltimore and Virtual

July 26, 2023

PACT Act Claims Clinic & VA Health Care Enrollment Fair, Arnold

75 Anniversary of the Desegregation of the U. S. Army, Greenbelt Library

Free Yoga Class for Emergency Responders and Military Personnel, Worcester County Library, Snow Hill

July 27, 2023

PACT Act Outreach event, Martinsburg VA Medical Center

July 29, 2023

Women Veterans Meet & Greet, La Plata

August 4 through August 20, 2023

Grounded, Maryland Hall, Annapolis, Flier

August 12, 2023

Odenton Library Community Festival, Odenton

Youth Flight Day, sponsored by Tuskegee Airmen East Coast Chapter, BWI Airport

August 24, 2023

Aberdeen Proving Ground Job Fair, APG Mallette Training Facility

August 31, 2023

Benefit for Baltimore Station: OPS Consulting 9th Annual Golf Event, Ijamsville

News from Community Building Art Works:

More Than One Story - Next Virtual Orientation August 8th!

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.


A Day of Belonging - August 12th (IN PERSON)

Community Building Art Works' 2023 community gathering, A Day of Belonging, will provide veterans, active duty military, and their families and caregivers with a day of expressive arts workshops. Attendees will experience performances, readings, and visual art exhibits led by professional artists to showcase artistic talent from the military and Veteran communities.

Workshops will include demonstrations of sample pieces from an artistic discipline, group discussions, and time for participants to create in a low-pressure, positive feedback environment. All supplies and materials will be provided to participants free of charge.

The event will conclude with a special musical guest performance by Wytold, a nationally recognized musician with a long history of working with CBAW and the military-affiliated community. Visit https://www.strathmore.org/community-education/public-education/a-day-of-belonging/ for more details and to register.

This event is for audience members aged 18 and older. Limited spots available.


Calling for Artwork

At A Day of Belonging, we will celebrate the power of the arts to bring together Veterans and civilians from different backgrounds into a community of belonging. Artists have an opportunity to have their work displayed in a Digital Exhibit at this event.   

Submit artwork answering the question: What does Belonging mean to you?  Open to all.

Submit artwork at: https://bit.ly/CBAW_Art2023

All submissions are due by July 20th. You will be notified by August 1st if your artwork has been selected for the exhibit.

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.