28 July 2023 MDVA News and Announcements

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  July 28, 2023


Message from Secretary Anthony Woods:


Primary Logo

Dear Friends — 

This week, America marked the 75th anniversary of President Harry S. Truman’s order to integrate the U.S. military. In signing Executive Order 9981, President Truman sent a strong signal that Black service members would not be left behind. Military desegregation has benefited countless Veterans in Maryland, including Governor Moore and I. Our lives were transformed by the experience we gained in the Army leading soldiers of varied backgrounds. Today, Governor Moore and I wrote about what integration of the military means to us in the Military Times.

Link to Our Military Times Op-Ed Here.

Secretary Anthony C. Woods

Secretary Woods on Panel

Secretary Woods (seated on the right) joined a panel speaking earlier today on The Future of Inclusion: Equal Opportunity in Today's Military and Tomorrow's at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.  Also providing her perspective as a panelist was Dr. Cynthia Macri who serves on the Maryland Veterans Commission.  Dr. Macri is seated second from the left.

MDVA Office in Frederick at New Location:

New office graphic


In the photo below is Andrew Rutherford, MDVA Veterans Benefits Specialist II at the new MDVA office location in Frederick.  The office is located in the Platoon Veterans Services Center/Goodwill Monocacy Valley building.


Andrew Rutherford

MDVA Service and Benefits Program

VA Claims Clinic

MDVA Benefits Specialists assisted Veterans at the PACT Act Veterans Claims Clinic & VA Health Care Enrollment Fair held at Anne Arundel Community College this week.

If you need assistance with your claim for compensation or pension, please contact the MDVA Service & Benefits staff.

MDVA Website

Crownsville Townhall meeting

MDVA Secretary Anthony Woods has begun a series of Town Hall meetings, giving MDVA employees across the state an opportunity to meet with him.  At this Town Hall meeting held at Crownsville Veterans Cemetery, Secretary Woods also took the opportunity to recognize some employees reaching employment milestones.  In the photo are from left to right:  Rodney Dickerson, Memorials Program (5 years of service), Secretary Woods, Dan Harper, Crownsville Veterans Cemetery (35 years of service) and Pat Ritter, Superintendent, Crownsville Veterans Cemetery (25 years of service).

Charlotte Hall donation photo

Charlotte Hall Veterans Home received a donation of $10,000 from the owners and operators of Sneade's Ace Home Center, Inc.  This very generous donation was the result of local round-up efforts in May of this year at all four store locations in Southern Maryland: Charlotte Hall, Owings, Lusby and Leonardtown.  We are very appreciative of the continued support of Sneade's Ace Home Center owners and staff for the residents of Charlotte Hall.

Shown in this photo are: Dana Sneade Banyasz, Rodney Jones, Deputy Director Veterans Home Program and Ben Banyasz.

Gold Star Mothers photo

Secretary Woods met with Gold Star Mothers in Annapolis this week.

Freedom Hills Veterans Drill Team

Freedom Hills Therapeutic Riding, Inc., an FY23 MDVA Service Animal Grant Program recipient located in Port Deposit, utilized a portion of their grant award to provide Professionally Accredited Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) instruction, training and membership for six (6) of their staff.  Pictured at the conclusion of a special Veteran Drill Team Presentation are, left to right: Bill Bolling who served as a Captain in the Army; Monica Vidal, a Senior Chief in the Coast Guard; Debbie Duncan, a Sergeant in the Army; Mike Duncan, a Technical Sergeant in the Air Force; Cecelia Kress, a Technical Sergeant in the Air Force; and Christopher Robert, a Master Sergeant in the Air Force.

Photo credit: Toni Gianforti, MDVA Grants Specialist

State Partner News


Governor Wes Moore met with MDVA Secretary Anthony Woods and Mr. Coleman Ruiz, Chairman of the Board for Team RWB to discuss collaboration opportunities promoting Veteran health and wellness.

Photo courtesy of the Executive Office of the Governor

Resources and Learning Opportunities for Maryland's Military Communities

Maryland Flag Waiving

The Maryland Department of Planning’s Compatible Use Website helps to raise awareness of the economic impact of the military mission in Maryland and builds community engagement. The website provides local communities with tools and resources to promote communication and collaboration with Maryland’s military communities, ensuring compatibility between military operations, land use, and civilian needs.

A key feature of the site is the Resources tab, where users can explore upcoming events, educational opportunities, and news related to military and community compatible use. In addition to a document library, case studies, and answers to frequently asked questions; users can remain current with a variety of learning opportunities including webinars, conferences, and networking events happening in and around Maryland’s military communities.

Read Full Article

Maryland's Commitment to Veterans hiring flier

More information

Disability Pride Month Governor's Awards

Nominate an individual, business or organization that represents outstanding achievement in either Disability Culture, or Disability Achievement.  Share with us why and how your nominee promotes equality of opportunity, access, and choice for Marylanders with disabilities in the areas of culture and achievements.  You may nominate more than one person or organization. Nominations are open through July 31, 2023.  Nomination Form

Maryland Department of Disabilities

News from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Maryland 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 on our website.

Freshwater Kayak Fishing 101 Classes in August

The Department of Natural Resources Adult Education Program invites you to “Freshwater Kayak Fishing 101" every Tuesday and Thursday from August 3-17 at the Mount Calvert Historical and Archaeological Park in Upper Marlboro. Kayaks, fishing rods, bait, and tackle are provided. Cost is $10 and space is limited - register today! Email chelsea.miller@maryland.gov with questions.

Department Reminds Marylanders to Practice Water Safety

Maryland’s boating and swimming season is in full swing and the Maryland Natural Resources Police is urging residents and visitors to take proper precautions to ensure safe enjoyment of our waterways this summer. Police and Park Rangers urge boaters and swimmers to adhere to state and local laws, follow water safety protocols, and use common sense. Read more.

Grants Gateway Open for Fiscal Year 2025

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced applications are open to fund community projects that restore local waterways, increase communities’ resilience to climate change and storm impacts, strengthen local economies, develop the next generation of environmental stewards, and foster sustainable development and use of Maryland waterways. Read more.

Maryland Black Bear Hunt Lottery Now Open for 2023 Season

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is now accepting applications for the 2023 black bear hunt lottery. Successful applicants will receive a permit valid for the 6-day hunting season that will be open October 23-28 in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties. All entries, along with a $15 nonrefundable entry fee, must be completed by 11:59 p.m. Aug. 31. Read more.

Federal Partner News

Federal News

August 2: VA, VFW, VVA to host PACT Act broadcast on Facebook Live

VA expands breast cancer screenings and mammograms for Veterans with potential toxic exposures

Dial 988 then Press 1 for the Veterans Crisis Line

PTSD Bytes: Video Mental Health Appointments

Furthering equal opportunities for persons with disabilities

Important information about air quality and your health

Million Veteran Program - Lifestyle changes for improved health

Free Yoga, Meditation Training for Military, Veteran Community

Live Whole Health #178: Imagining Danger

Live Whole Health #179: Take a pause to breathe

Women Veterans Book Corner - Seeking Women Veteran Authors

July 31: Department of Labor Research Roundtable Black Veteran Employment Barriers and Interventions

Caregiver Toolkit for Disaster Preparedness

In a collaborative effort, the Caregiver Support Program and the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers have joined forces to develop a groundbreaking Toolkit for Caregivers of Veterans for Disaster Preparedness.

This invaluable resource empowers caregivers of Veterans while equipping them with the necessary tools and knowledge to navigate the challenges of caregiving during times of disaster. With a focus on increasing caregiver confidence and preparedness, this toolkit serves as a comprehensive guide for caregivers who play an essential role in the well-being of our nation’s heroes.

The primary aim of this toolkit is to help you, as a caregiver, prepare yourself and the Veterans you care for in the face of a crisis.

Click the following link to read and develop your preparedness strategy today: Prepared Military Caregivers Disaster Relief Toolkit

Join VA’s free, phone-based class called “Mindfulness Meditation.”   Designed for Veterans of all eras, this class will help you manage the challenges and stressors of everyday life. Each class covers a topic related to mindfulness, followed by a guided meditation practice. Classes are available from 11a.m. to noon ET on these upcoming days:

  • Aug 11th • Sept 8th • Oct 6th • Nov 3rd • Dec 1st.

Take any or all classes.

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.

75th Anniversary of Army  event photo

MDVA Secretary Woods participated in the observance of the 75th Anniversary of the Desegregation of the Army held at the Greenbelt Library.

Photo credit: Roslyn Jones

Community Calendar

July 29, 2023

Women Veterans Meet & Greet, La Plata

August 4 through August 20, 2023

Grounded, Maryland Hall, Annapolis, Flier

August 2, 2023

VA, VFW, VVA to host PACT Act broadcast of Facebook Live

August 3, 2023

Veteran Community Health Fair, Baltimore

August 4, 2023

First Friday Vetworking

PACT Act Event, Virtual Exchange & Women Veterans Empowerment, Registration Required

August 8, 2023

Legacy of Honor Project, learn about becoming a volunteer, Annapolis

August 12, 2023

Odenton Library Community Festival, Odenton

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

Veteran Self-Leadership Academy

Community Building Art Works: A Day of Belonging, Rockville

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

September 7, 2023

Howard County Veterans Foundation: Valiant Women, Panel Discussion and Book Signing, Columbia

September 15, 2023 

Maryland Department of Labor Job Fair, Woodlawn

September 21, 2023

Ft. Detrick Military Retiree Appreciation Day

Veteran/Military Community Resource & Hiring Event, Baltimore

September 30, 2023

Tribute to Our Veterans Motorsports Event, Summit Point, WV

Community News

Applications are now open for the Winter 2024 Dog Tag Fellowship Program


The Steven A. Cohen Clinic at Easterseals upcoming events

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 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

News from Serving Together:

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 MD/NoVa/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.

ServingTogether’s Peer Navigators connect service members, veterans, their family members and caregivers, regardless of rank, service era or discharge status, to specific resources to best fit their needs. From benefits and education assistance to financial, health care, legal and employment resources, ServingTogether’s staff connects military and veterans with opportunities and resources they may not even be aware of in the area.

To contact the Peer Navigators, please visit www.servingtogetherproject.org and complete the Get Assistance form on the website, or call 1-855-738-7176.

Read More about additional Serving Together Services here.

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


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/comm 



Intuitive Art Journaling: Mixed Media Art as a Meditative Practice

In this workshop, we will use mixed media art journaling as a way to calm the mind and ground ourselves. We will intuitively create a variety of collage papers, as well as a patterned background, and then use these to create an expressive artistic piece.  This class is a creative exploration; no prior artistic experience needed! Please note that this workshop is 90 min. Register HERE, and don't forget to select Wed. August 10th.

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 | YouTube | LinkedIn

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.