5 April 2024 MDVA News and Announcements

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  April 5, 2024


Message from Secretary Anthony Woods:

Primary Logo

Dear Friends,

Reflecting on the past two weeks, we stand at the intersection of two significant days for Veterans in the calendar: Medal of Honor Day on March 25th and Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day on March 30th in the State of Maryland.

Last week, I had the honor of attending a solemn wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery alongside Medal of Honor recipients. Among them were heroes whose acts of valor during the Vietnam War epitomized the bravery and sacrifice of our armed forces.

The Vietnam War was a pivotal chapter in our nation's history, and its veterans paved the way for how our country thinks about and treats veterans today. Despite facing challenges upon their return, the Vietnam generation sparked a cultural shift, demanding recognition and respect for their service. Their resilience and advocacy laid the groundwork for the comprehensive support and appreciation our veterans receive today.

As we commemorate Medal of Honor Day and Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day, let us not only honor the extraordinary courage of our Medal of Honor recipients but also express our deepest gratitude to all Vietnam veterans. Their legacy of service, sacrifice, and advocacy continues to inspire us as we strive to uphold our commitment to all who have worn the uniform.

Medal of Honor ceremony

Secretary Woods attended the Medal of Honor Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Photo credit: Michael Garcia

Medal of Honor 3


Special note: In the aftermath of the Key Bridge tragedy in Baltimore on March 26th, our hearts ache for those affected by this devastating event. As we mourn the lives lost, we extend our deepest condolences to their families and their communities.

In the face of this event, it is important to recognize the contributions of our community in the recovery and resilience efforts. The veteran and military-connected community are continuing to serve and show leadership in this time of adversity.

We thank the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Navy for their role in the recovery efforts. We know their commitment to service is unwavering and absolute. 

We thank the first responders, including the Maryland National Guard, who embody the values of honor, courage, and commitment that are hallmarks of military service. 

For those interested in contributing to the recovery and resilience efforts, the Baltimore Community Foundation's Key Bridge Emergency Fund is available. The fund will provide support for families, port workers, first responders, and small businesses impacted by the Key Bridge collapse.

In times of crisis, the bonds of our military community grow stronger, reminding us of the importance of standing together and “leaving no one behind".



MDVA Service and Benefits Program is offering a new location for appointments:

Rosedale: Wednesdays, 9:00am to 1:00pm

VA Eastern Baltimore County Community Based Outpatient Clinic

Franklin Square Professional Center

5235 King Avenue, Suite 200

Rosedale, MD 21237

410-605-7000 ext. 51052

Please call for an appointment to meet with a MDVA Benefits Specialist


MDVA Website

Month of the Military Child

In celebration of the Month of the Military Child (April) and Military Appreciation Month (May), the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs is pleased to partner with the Maryland State Library Agency, Maryland Department of Health, and several Maryland library branches to host special reading events for military and veteran families.  

Families attending these programs will enjoy a reading of the book, Unstoppable Me, and receive their own copy for their home*.  These special reading events will also provide the opportunity for military and veteran families to connect with one another and to other community resources. 

Participating libraries and event information.

*Books and goodie bags are limited to the first 25 families who register and attend events.

News from MDVA Women Veterans/Inclusion Program:

April 12th, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Guests Speakers from various agencies that affect various populations.


The goal for this event is to bring awareness to diverse programs/agencies, and to highlight any specific requirements or additional information associated with being able to take advantage of the services offered.

Maryland Department of Aging

Maryland's Commitment to Veterans

Maryland Commission on LGBTQIA Affairs

VA Maryland Healthcare System Caregiver Support

Join at this Link

For More Information: Roslyn Jones, roslyn.jones1@maryland.gov

Cohen Clinic

MDVA Deputy Secretary Ross Cohen and Secretary Anthony Woods visited the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Easterseals.

Gold Star Mother's

MDVA Deputy Secretary Ross Cohen attended the Vietnam Veteran's Day ceremony held on March 29th at American Legion Post 39 in Bel Air.  While there, he spoke with the members of the American Gold Star Mothers, Maryland Chapter.

Mikel Hicks

Ms. Mikel Hicks, MDVA Director of Fair Practices received the 2024 Women's History Month Michelle Obama Award from Anne Arundel County.  Shown with Mikel are Anne Arundel County Executive Stuart Pittman on the left and Mr. Carl Snowden on the right.  Congratulations to Mikel from all of us at MDVA!

State Partner News

Maryland's Commitment to Veterans


Veteran Owned Small Business Certification Workshop, Friday, April 12, 2024 in Cambridge:

Maryland Flag Waiving

Join the Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs along with our collaborating partners:

- Project Opportunity
- Dorchester Economic Development Office

- U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

We will discuss both the Maryland Veteran-Owned Small Business Enterprise (VSBE) Program and both of the Federal Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) Program, and Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) Program. Learn about any new program updates, how to mine and use public data at both state and federal levels, and a hands-on opportunity to get your Maryland VSBE certification with a 3-step process on that same day.

If you would like to get your Maryland VSBE Certification please have the following ready:

- Bring your own personal laptop

- Be registered in Maryland's eProcurement Platform, emma.maryland.gov

- Have an electronic copy of your DD214 - so that it can be uploaded


Maryland National Guard

Governor Moore attends the Maryland National Guard Bravo Company 3-126th Redeployment ceremony.

Photo courtesy of the Executive Office of the Governor

Lt. Governor Aruna Miller

Lt. Governor Aruna Miller also attended a Maryland National Guard deployment ceremony held at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport.

Photo courtesy of the Executive Office of the Governor

MD Military Gala

Lt. Governor Aruna Miller attended the Maryland Military Gala in support of the Maryland National Guard. Major General Janeen L. Birckhead (center) is the 31st Adjutant General of the Maryland National Guard and also included in the photo is former Adjutant General Linda L. Singh.

Spotlight on Education: University of Maryland Eastern Shore

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore has developed an outreach program that provides Cyber Safety training sessions for Veterans that live along the eastern shore of Maryland.  The Cyber Safety training session will offer discussions regarding spoofing, identity theft, spam and even AI threats.  The Cyber Safety training is free; however, registration is required.  There will also be a lottery to provide over 100 free new Apple iPads with Logitech cases just for attending.  The event will be held at 10:00am EST on Saturday, April 20, 2024 in the UMES Student Support Center in Ballroom A.

Please use the following link to register:


News from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources

NRP Reminds Crabbers to Comply with Conservation Laws

Maryland’s blue crab season officially opens April 1 in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries and the Atlantic Ocean and coastal bays. With the opening of a new season comes an increased presence by Natural Resources Police (NRP) officers to educate the public and enforce laws pertaining to crabbing, particularly with recreational crabbers and owners of private shorelines. Read more.

Maryland Youth Fishing Rodeo Schedule Set for 2024 Season

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources encourages youths ages 3 to 15 to try their hand at fishing or hone their angling skills at any of Maryland’s 50 youth fishing rodeos spread out across the state this year. The department is working with dozens of organizations in 14 counties to offer free and engaging fishing opportunities for thousands of youth. Read more.

2024 Keep Maryland Beautiful Grants Total $236,276

Maryland Environmental Trust has approved 18 grants totaling $236,276 to be awarded for environmental education, community cleanup, and beautification projects through the Keep Maryland Beautiful program.

Grants through the Keep Maryland Beautiful program are awarded to volunteer-based and nonprofit groups, communities, schools, and land trusts in Maryland.

The grants are funded by the Maryland Environmental Trust, Maryland Department of Transportation, and the Maryland Department of Agriculture. Read more.

2024 Session of the Maryland General Assembly has Convened

The Maryland General Assembly is currently meeting in Annapolis for the 2024 Legislative Session.  To see a list of the most recent legislative updates impacting the veteran and military community, please visit our website at:

2024 Legislative Information

You may also check the status of proposed legislation by visiting the:

Maryland General Assembly Website

Federal Partner News

South Carroll Senior Center

MDVA and the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs cooperated in providing a Veterans Claims Clinic recently.  Thank you to the South Carroll Senior & Community Center staff in Eldersburg for hosting the event.

Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Education Service (EDU) is embarking on a GI Bill Roadshow at Bowie State University on Wednesday, April 10, 2024.

The event kicks off with a School Certifying Official (SCO) Workshop that will provide attendees with the opportunity to learn more about Enrollment Manager, hear VBA EDU modernization updates, and learn how they can support their GI Bill® students. Following the SCO Workshop, EDU leaders will present a GI Bill Town Hall to speak with student Veterans on the our Digital GI Bill efforts and offer a Q&A session.

WHEN: SCO Workshop - Wednesday, April 10, 2024, 10-11 a.m. ET

         GI Bill Town Hall - 1:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET 

         Veterans Benefits Fair - 12:30 - 1L30 p.m. ET

WHERE: Bowie State University, James E. Proctor Jr. Building

  • Building address in Apple and Google Maps: James E. Proctor Jr. Building, 14000 Jericho Park Rd, Bowie, MD 20715

The SCO workshop will cover:

  • A Digital GI Bill overview
  • Enrollment Manager overview and tips
  • SCO training and communication resources
  • Q&A with VBA EDU leadership

The GI Bill Town Hall will cover:

  • Overview of education benefits
  • Q&A on GI Bill questions answered directly from EDU leaders

Additionally, VBA EDU will host a Veterans Benefits Fair from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Federal News: 

How to view the upcoming solar eclipse safely, Health.mil article

Watch Out for Common Scams and Fraud Affecting Veterans

VA will never reach out to you to solicit money for research: VA.gov/VSAFE

VET TEC Pilot Program Concluding

Veterans Tackle Anxiety

Download the PTSD Mobile App

Veterans War Related Illness Newsletter

Communities help with Veteran suicide prevention

Overview of VA Resources to End Veteran Homelessness

Four virtual resources to improve your sleep

Creating a safe space for women Veterans at VA

Live Whole Health #212: Mindfulness and chronic pain

Live Whole Health #213: Doing the best we can

Live Whole Health #214: Strawberry salad, berry goodness

Live Whole Health #215: It's all inside you

Reducing falls by focusing on hip muscles

Exposed to toxins during your service? Enroll in VA

Veteran and Military Spouse Talent Engagement Program

Get VA to cover the cost of your degree with these scholarship programs

Veteran travel 101: Applying for travel reimbursement

U.S. Department of Labor - Retirement Resources for Women

VA Winter Sports Clinic is happening now and here

VetServe 2024: Join VA in Supporting a National Day of Service, April 24th

VA Maryland Health Care System: Cycle VA Maryland

VA released the spring 2024 issue of the online newsletter Military Exposures & Your Health. This issue includes the following articles:

  • The Toxic Exposure Research Clearinghouse
  • HOME Starts New Division: Surveillance Military Environmental Exposures

Read the newsletter at https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/publications/military-exposures/meyh-12/index.asp.

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.

Jewish War Veterans

On Sunday March 17, 2024, Marine Corps, Navy, Army, Coast Guard, and Air Force Veterans from Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. (JWV) Post 167, got together with Rabbi Chesky Tenenbaum from the Jewish Uniformed Services Association (JUSA) at the JUSA house to put together over 75+ shalach manot, or Purim holiday MREs, for veterans in the greater Baltimore area.

"Veterans have done a lot for our country and it's great to give back," said Dan Berkovitz, a member of JWV Post 167. This is the second year that Rabbi Tenenbaum has put together this event. The event consists of 4 needs - (1) people to assemble the packages, (2) provide us, with permission, the contact information of local Jewish veterans (3) people to deliver and converse with the veterans, and (4) people to deliver, even one package.

To learn more about the Purim MREs for veterans, please go to the following site: https://jewishusamd.org/VCFPurim

If you are a veteran and interested in learning more about JWV, please visit our table at the Owings Mills JCC Block Party on April 7, 2024, the May 5, 2024 Veterans Celebration of Carroll County, and our table during the 2024 MD Fleet Week. You can also message, like, and follow us at https://www.facebook.com/JWV167 via our Facebook page.

Community Calendar

April 5, 2024

Veterans Legal Assistance Conference & Training, Baltimore, Register

JobSource: Spring Community Resource Event, Waldorf

Leave No Veteran Behind, Prince George's County Employment Connect, National Harbor

April 6, 2024

Health & Wellness Fair, Mt. Airy

Rebels and Redcoats: A Southern Maryland Revolutionary War Family Event, Piney Point Lighthouse Museum

Veteran Owned Small Business Expo, Cheverly

April 7, 2024

Gilchrist's 6th Annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day, Windsor Mill

April 10, 2024

Coffee Social for Service Members, Veterans and their families, Emmitsburg (Also on May 8 and June 12)

April 11, 2024

Baltimore Station Fundraiser - Take a Swing for Recovery, Baltimore

April 12, 2024

Veteran-Owned Small Business Certification Workshop, Cambridge

April 13, 2024

The Mission Continues Earth Day Volunteer Opportunity, Curtis Bay, Register

Women Veterans Modern Mandalas Workshop, Leonardtown, Operation Second Chance

Blue Star Families: Spaces for Belonging LQBTQ+mMilitary Yourth Event, Virtual

April 14, 2024

Lifeline Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation LETS Program - Workshop for Caregivers of TBI Warriors, Gaithersburg

April 17, 2024

Helping our Military Build Personal Wealth, Obtain Loans and Set Goals, Virtual

April 18, 2024

Maryland's Commitment to Veterans Training: Impact of Moral Injury on Veteran Family Dynamics, Virtual

April 20, 2024

DAV Veterans Claims Clinic, Baltimore

April 23, 2024

UMGC 2024 Military and Veteran MilVet Networking Event, Adelphi

April 24, 2024

Veterans Appreciation Dinner, American Legion Hall, Sykesville

April 25, 2024

Career Transition Showcase, Hanover, Flier

April 30, 2024

Annapolis Vet Center Open House, Annapolis

Community News

Mission Beelieve News:

May 18th: Therapeutic Bee House Ribbon Cutting

Introduction to Beekeeping Course, June 3rd through July 15th, Virtual

Blue Star Families Upcoming Events:

Earth Day Events

Beach Cleanups

Caregivers Empowering Caregivers (CEC) Cohort Program

Blue Star Families Military Survey Now Open

No One Left Behind seeks volunteers to support former interpreters and U.S. government employees eligible for the Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) programs. Read More Here

At ServingTogether, we provide local veteran resources, information and services to active duty service members, veterans, family members and caregivers in the DMV region free of charge. We do this through coordinated care, community education (Mental Health First Aid, QPR and other classes) and our numerous veterans’ collaboratives. We also provide mental health assessments as a recipient of the Staff Sergeant Fox grant program.

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 have hundreds of dedicated non-profit, state and federal partners that can help with needs from A to Z!

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

Visit https://servingtogetherproject.org/  for upcoming events, information, helpful guides, checklists and more.  

Community Collaboration

ServingTogether helps to coordinate or is a member of various collaboratives, committees and councils related to our military and veteran community. We chair several community collaboratives that provide an opportunity to network, share, learn and interconnect to other area community providers. To learn more about them, visit: https://servingtogetherproject.org/

Yoga and Meditative event

Thank you for supporting our efforts to ensure Apryl Showers’ mission of providing mobile shower and essential goods services to our homeless population is successful. Our first fundraiser event, to go along with our GoFundMe campaign, will be Beats, Rhymes & Yoga / Dynamic Immersive Meditation.

Use the link below to view event details and purchase tickets:


For those that are not able to make it and would still like to donate to the cause, please share the link below to the Apryl Shower’s GoFundMe page:


News from Community Building Art Works:

Military Spouses, Caregivers & Veterans Writing Workshop - 1st & 3rd Thursdays at 3:30pm EST (Virtual)

Join Veteran & author Kevin Basl on the first and third Thursdays at 3:30pm EST to learn how to use writing as a tool to communicate, self-discover, and reflect in our series in partnership with Blue Star FamiliesRegister at https://bsfcbaw_writing.eventbrite.com.

Paint Night - Wednesday, April 10th at 7pm EST (Virtual)

Come unwind from the stress of your day with a fun beginner paint night with Veteran Artist, Margaret Jacobson. She will guide you step by step in creating a fun and simple painting. No experience necessary. Bring your materials for a night full of fun. Please note that this workshop is 90 minutes. Register HERE.

More Than One Story - Next Virtual Orientation April 9th

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.

Future Events: Save the Date

May 2, 2024: 8th Annual Sgt. Alfred B. Hilton Memorial Fundraiser

May 5, 2024: 3rd Annual Veterans Celebration of Carroll County, Westminster

May 15, 2024: 13th Annual Southern MD Hiring Event, Waldorf

May 17, 2024: Armed Forces Day Veterans Salute, Annapolis

May 18, 2024: Women Veterans Paddle, St. Mary's River State Park

May 18, 2024: Lifeline Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation - Lets Program 2024 Spring Open House, Gaithersburg

May 23, 2024: 13th Annual Veterans Appreciation Ceremony, Upper Marlboro

May 25, 2024: Spring Wellness Workshop (equine-assisted wellness coaching workshop), Gaithersburg

July 20, 2024: Frederick County Veterans Appreciation Day, Frederick

August 9 and 11, 2024: Peaceful Warriors: Yoga Practices for Healing Trauma in Military and First Responder Communities, Frederick

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.