1 December 2023 MDVA News and Announcements

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  December 1, 2023


Message from Secretary Anthony Woods:

Primary Logo

Dear Friends,

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving.

Here at the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs, we celebrated with our residents at Charlotte Hall Veterans Home.

Governor Moore, Lt. Governor Miller, Congressman Hoyer, Major General Janeen Birckhead of the Maryland National Guard, Senator Jack Bailey, and myself served a Thanksgiving meal and met with residents. Our residents met with senior leaders from the Maryland National Guard and enjoyed a live jazz band!

We thanked the veterans for their service, the staff for their hard work and commitment to our mission, and the National Guard for their continued commitment to wearing the uniform.

As I reflect on our visit and as we approach the holiday season, I find myself feeling the sense of gratitude that defines this time of year. 

I am thankful for the MDVA's dedicated staff, our partners across the state, and this veteran community.

With gratitude,


Charlotte Hall

State Senator Jack Bailey, Lt. Governor Aruna Miller, Congressman Steny Hoyer,           Governor Wes Moore, Major General Janeen Birckhead and Secretary Tony Woods at                              Charlotte Hall Veterans Home.

Photo courtesy of the Executive Office of the Governor

Chesapeake Beach American Legion Post

Secretary Woods attended the Veterans Resource Fair at American Legion Post 206 in Chesapeake Beach.  While there, he was interviewed by Jenna Carlton, the Millennial Veteran for her podcast. Follow Jenna: @themillennialveteran

MDVA Website

In Memoriam: Maryland Veterans Commissioner Erwin Burtnick

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Commissioner Erwin Burtnick.  Colonel Burtnick was one of the longest serving Commissioners in the history of the Maryland Veterans Commission.  He represented the Jewish War Veterans on the Veterans Commission and he also served as a former Maryland State Commander of the Jewish War Veterans. 

Colonel Burtnick was a true ambassador for the Commission and MDVA.  He was always willing to represent the Department at community events and he loved talking with Veterans to ensure they were receiving the benefits they earned from their military service.

We here at MDVA extend our sincere condolences to Mrs. Janet Burtnick and the Burtnick family and friends.

Obituary,   JMORE article


Celebration of Life Ceremony for former MDVA Secretary George Owings on December 3, 2023 will be live streamed on the

Calvert County YouTube Channel.

For more information: BayNet.com article


Promise Ball photo

Attendees at the Promise Ball, a fundraising gala. Promise Landing Farm is a MDVA Service Animal Program grant recipient in Upper Marlboro. From left to right: Stacie Benes, Maryland Horse Industry Board, Devereaux Raskauskas, Maryland Horse Industry Board, Anne Litz, Maryland Horse Industry Board, Chair Kimberly Lewis, Prince George's County Commission for Veterans, Marva Parker, Rickmen Parker, CMSgt, USAF (Ret.), Promise Ball Individual Award Winner, Dr. James Dula, Prince George's County Office of Veterans Affairs.

Rickman Parker was the first veteran to be served through the MDVA grant funds at Promise Landing Farm in 2022.  He continues to come to Promise Landing Farm every week to both ride and volunteer.

State Partner News

Charlotte Hall

Governor Wes Moore and Lieutenant Governor Aruna Miller visited the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home in St. Mary’s County to serve Thanksgiving meals to residents. 

Read more here

Photo courtesy of the Executive Office of the Governor

Spotlight on Education

News from Anne Arundel Community College:

Cyber GR&C Coalition Workforce Development Grant Program

Anne Arundel Community College was awarded National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C) scholarship funding by the National Security Agency for transitioning veterans and first responders.

Qualifying and selected students will receive up to $5,000 in tuition and fees (not including books, supplies or laptops). 

The objective of the grant is supported by the AACC course Network Security Fundamentals (CTS-140) to prepare students for the CompTIA Security+® certification. 

Grant recipients will obtain their CompTIA certification and receive mentoring and support, including, but not limited to: planning and reviewing academic evaluations, technical guidance, professional development activities and additional support as needed to be placed in a paid internship, apprenticeship and/or permanent employment in governance, risk and compliance (GR&C) positions, or other cybersecurity related positions.

For more information and application deadlines, visit this webpage: 


VSBE program photo

The Governor’s Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs commemorated Veterans Day by hosting the 2023 Veteran-Owned Small Business Enterprise Appreciation Breakfast at Maryland Live! Casino and Hotel in Hanover. The event celebrated the achievements of local veteran entrepreneurs and the growth of the state’s Veteran-Owned Small Business Enterprise procurement program.  Read More Here

News from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Maryland Park Service Director Angela Crenshaw is pleased to announce the recruitment for four long-term contractual Park Technician Trainee positions that will serve as crew members for the Veteran Conservation Corps Program at Merkle Natural Resources Management Area. The closing date for this recruitment is December 13, 2023. 

Please see the link below to the recruitment announcement in JobAps, and share this message with your coworkers who do not have direct access to e-mail.

LTC Park Technician Trainee - VCC


More News from DNR:

Maryland’s ‘Gift of Trees’ Provides a Legacy of Stewardship

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering holiday shoppers an opportunity to honor of a loved one, to benefit future generations, and to improve the environment. The Gift of Trees is a program where Marylanders purchase native trees — either a single tree or a grove of 10 trees—for planting in honor of a celebration, commemoration, or observation. Read more.

Maryland’s Deer Firearms Hunting Opened Nov. 25

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that the two-week firearms hunting season for sika and white-tailed deer opens Saturday, Nov. 25 and runs through Saturday, Dec. 9. This tradition is great opportunity for new hunters and is essential for managing the state’s healthy deer population. Read more

Maryland Forest Service Wraps Up Successful Seed Collection

The Maryland Forest Service and the John S. Ayton State Forest Tree Nursery have completed a successful seed collection to grow the next generation of native trees and shrubs in the state. The collection brought in thousands of pounds of seeds, berries and nuts, from white oak to witch hazel, for planting in the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ state nursery. Read more.

What Health Issues Matter to You?

Maryland Flag Waiving

The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) wants to hear from you (and your friends and family) about what you consider are the most pressing health issues for Maryland residents!

MDH has launched a collaborative initiative called “Building a Healthier Maryland” that is aimed at improving the health and well-being of all Maryland residents. Please complete a very brief survey so that your voice is heard.

The survey is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Korean and is intended for any Maryland resident who is at least 18 years old. The survey closes on January 3, 2024.

The flyer below provides additional information about the survey and can be displayed in public areas to encourage participation. Click here to download a copy of the flyer. 

Survey link: https://forms.gle/HXtEJt2X3F5jdATr6

If you have any questions about Building a Healthier Maryland or about the survey, please send an email to MDH.BAHM@maryland.gov.

Thank you for your input on this important initiative. For More Information

Federal Partner News

Federal News

VA calls on mortgage servicers to pause foreclosures of VA-guaranteed loans through May 31, 2024

Insights from the National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report

Suicide prevention: Staying in touch with friends, family and myself

How writing, art and community can help military caregivers overcome loneliness

Check out the VA Caregiver Support Program

COURAGE: Advancing women's cancer care and equity

Her service, our mission: National Veterans Experience Action Center dedicated to Women Veterans

VA Quality of Life Plus Program

Live Whole Health #196: Happy, healthy, safe and peaceful

Live Whole Health #197: You can be grateful for your struggles, too!

VA's cookbook for healthy recipes

Veterans, Gold Star Families get free lifetime pass to national parks, wildlife refuges, and other public lands

Support A Congressional Gold Medal For The Hello Girls This Year

The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission continues its campaign for passage of the current Hello Girls Congressional Gold Medal legislation in the 118th Congress. The Hello Girls made critical battlefield tactical communications work effectively for U.S. and French military forces on the front lines of World War I, saving many lives by helping bring the long war to a quicker end. However, when the Hello Girls returned home after WWI ended, they were denied veterans status and benefits until 1977. The Hello Girls earned and deserve the recognition of a Congressional Gold Medal, and you can help make that happen in the 118th  Congress! Click here for our toolbox that makes the process of reaching out to your Representative and Senators very straightforward. Congress is now in session November 28 to December 16, so this is an excellent time to reach out to your Senators and Representative, and tell them that you want them to cosponsor Hello Girls Congressional Gold Medal legislation in the 118th Congress.

The Hello Girls trained at Fort Meade, Maryland

Reprinted from the Doughboy Foundation November 2023 Newsletter

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.

Post 206

While at Chesapeake Beach Post 206 Veterans Resource Fair, Secretary Woods spoke with former American Legion State Commander and former Post 206 Commander Pat McCoy and the current Post 206 Commander, Scott Deacon.

Community Calendar

December 9, 2023

Wellspring of Life Farm hands-on fun with horses on the farm for Military & First Responder families, Monkton, RSVP by December 4th

December 10, 2023

Jewish War Veterans Post 167 Hanukkah Party, at VFW Post 521, 214 Tollgate Road, Owings Mills. For more information

December 12, 2023

Red Cross Blood Drive, Reveille Grounds, Baltimore

December 13, 2023

Baltimore Military Muster, Reveille Grounds, Baltimore

December 14, 2023

Wreaths Across America wreath-laying ceremony at Wicomico War Veterans Memorial, Salisbury

Maryland Commitment to Veterans December Workshop: Advancing Mental Health: Practices in Real Resilience

December 19, 2023

Arundel Lodge Operation Sleigh Ride for Veterans and their families, Edgewater

Community News

allihouseworth.com offers mediation workshops with a discount for military and first responders. Registration


Upcoming events at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Easterseals


Baltimore County Veterans Book Group reconvenes in January, at the Towson Branch of the Library. Registration begins December 11th.


Pilot, Prisoner, Soldier, Spy

Colonel Shreve

The Remarkable Maryland Officer Who Served in Four Wars.

For the next several issues of the MDVA newsletter we will be featuring installments of the story of Colonel Arthur Shreve, written by his granddaughter, Heather Shreve.  His story starts here:

Part I: High School Drop-out to ‘Mustang’

I remember him well…I would sit on his knee at age four and five and play this game he called ‘blackbirds on a fence’―little pieces of black electrical tape stuck to his fingers were the ‘birds.’ One by one, they would fly away. I fell for it, and for him―a guy who made you feel like the only person on the planet. He had a gift. That was my last memory of my grandfather…and I so wish he had lived past 1969.

I didn’t know then the extraordinary life the Colonel had lived…

Born in 1897 on Lanvale Street in Baltimore City, Arthur was the oldest boy of four children. He lived an ordinary life and was enrolled at Polytechnic High School. Then, in January 1914, his father suddenly dies of acute pneumonia…and with him goes  the family income. Arthur drops out of school (16) to find work. He finds employment as a surveyor at the Roland Park Co. Later that year, as a clerk for the Fidelity and Deposit Co. owned by former Governor Warfield and future relative. While there, he buys life insurance.

When the United States is pulled into war in April 1917,  Arthur quits his job and enlists in the Maryland National Guard, Battery A /110th F.A. After training at Camp McClellan, Alabama he transfers to the Signal Corps/Aviation Section so he can fly. He receives an aviation degree from the University of Illinois and trains at Kelly Field, TX, Camp Dick, and Machine Gun School at Wilbur Wright Field. Assigned the 3rd Aerodrome Center in Issoudun, France, he arrives September 1918 and receives another 70 hours of training as a pursuit pilot.

Next, he is sent to Romorantin where DH4 DeHavillands are being assembled around the clock. Ferry pilots are needed so, with no parachute and no promises, Arthur flies canvas and balsa wings to the Western Front for the remainder of the war at a time when the average life of a pilot was 50 hours.

Unscathed, Arthur returns to Baltimore in February 1919 and goes to work for the Whiting Turner Construction Co. leading a survey team. But something calls him back…much to the chagrin of G.W.C. Whiting who deplores his choice to reenlist in a letter dated July, 1920 saying Arthur “…is so good with large numbers of men.”  

Arthur trains at Camp Funston, Kansas before his first assignment in 1921: Hawaiian Division under the command of GEN C. Summerall. At Schofield Barracks, he is promoted to 1st Lieutenant and learns several important things: coastal artillery, Japanese culture and war tactics, food safety and how to feed 10,000 men (Cook and Bakers School), riding and polo. In 1922, GEN J. Kuhn, hero of the Muesse-Argon Offensive (C.O./21st Brigade, C.O./Schofield) asks Arthur to be his A.D.C., which he humbly accepts.

  For more photos and to read the rest of this week's installment

World War I ceremony

VFW Post 304, and Denise Robinson with the Legacy of Honor Project organized a wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the 105th Anniversary of the end of World War I. The ceremony was held at the gravesite of Pvt. Emil Julius Snyder at St. Mary's Cemetery in Annapolis.  The poppies were made by a local school's Art Club and kindergarten class.

Photo credit: photo by Life in Colour - Stacy Godfrey

News from Community Building Art Works

Glowing in the Dark - December 20th at 7pm EST (Virtual)

Join CBAW and hosts, Hari Alluri and Seema Reza for Glowing in the Dark, our annual winter solstice reading to celebrate our community of authors, on Wednesday, December 20th at 7pm. Stay after the reading for our Visual Art Program with Veteran and Artist, Shaun Smith. Bring acrylic paints to learn how to paint a flame.

Suminagashi: The Art of Japanese Marbling - December 13th at 7pm EST (Virtual)

Join Artist, Linh My Truong, on Wed., December 13th at 7pm EST to learn how the Japanese art of marbling, Suminagashi, which translates to "floating ink." Ink brushes dipped in water create hypnotic, swirling patterns reminiscent of natural phenomena from the train of wood to the cosmos. Students will explore using different tools and substances to manipulate the patterns while creating monoprints on paper. For a full list of materials and to register, visit www.cbaw.org/events.

Creative Writing with Seema Reza -  Every Friday at 12pm EST (Virtual)

No experience required! If you can think, you can write. In this creative writing workshop, we'll consider writing as a tool for communication, expression, and relief from holding it all together. Join us any Friday afternoon. Visit www.cbaw.org/events.

More Than One Story - Next Virtual Orientation December 12th

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.

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

Read the VA article about Community Building Art Works

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.