3 May 2024 MDVA News and Announcements

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  May 3, 2024


Message from Secretary Anthony Woods:

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Dear Friends,

This week, I had the pleasure of joining veterans for a town hall meeting organized by Delegate Sample-Hughes at the historic St. James AME Zion Church in Salisbury. This event gave me a chance to hear firsthand about the unique challenges and also the opportunities we have to better serve veterans on the Eastern Shore and across the state.  

As we continue to seek new ways to meet our mission, I am excited to embark on a statewide tour, visiting VFW and American Legion posts, military installations, mission-aligned nonprofits, and veteran-owned small businesses. It is essential that we reach every corner of our state to ensure that the voices of all veterans are heard and acted upon. This journey is about strengthening our community and ensuring that every veteran has the support they need to thrive.

I look forward to meeting many of you on this tour and working together to uphold our commitment to leave no one behind.

See you on the road,


MilVet event

The University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) staff hosted a very successful MilVet Net: A Military & Veteran Networking event.  In this photo Teresa Spruill, UMGC Assistant Director, Military Operations and Kristin Byerly, UMGC Director, Veterans Initiatives speak to Secretary Anthony Woods at the event.

Memorial Day Observances at MDVA locations:

MDVA cemeteries and memorials around Maryland will serve as host sites for Memorial Day Ceremonies.  Volunteer Committees organize the ceremonies.  Below is the list of scheduled events at MDVA locations. The public is invited to attend:

Monday, May 27, 2024

10:30 am:

Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery

11501 Garrison Forest Rd, Owings Mills, MD 21117


11:00 am: 

Cheltenham Veterans Cemetery

11301 Crain Highway, Cheltenham, MD 20623


Crownsville Veterans Cemetery

1122 Sunrise Beach Rd, Crownsville, MD 21032


World War II Memorial

1920 Ritchie Highway, Annapolis, MD 21401


Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Middle Branch Park, 2825 S. Hanover Street, Baltimore, MD 21225



Rocky Gap Veterans Cemetery

14205 Pleasant Valley Road, NE, Flintstone, MD 21530


Thursday, May 30, 2024

1:30 pm: 

Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery

6827 East New Market Ellwood Road, Hurlock, MD 21643


For more information on locations:

MDVA Cemetery and Memorials Program


MDVA is seeking a volunteer organization to plan and coordinate Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies at the Korean War Memorial located on the Baltimore waterfront in Canton.  If you are interested in organizing the program for these ceremonies, please contact: Keith Brown, Superintendent, MDVA Memorials Program – keith.brown@maryland.gov


Pleasant Trees

Pleasant Trees, LLC staff donated pruning work on the trees at the World War II Memorial and Ritchie Overlook for Arbor Day.  Their help is appreciated as we prepare for Memorial Day observances at the MDVA Cemeteries & Memorials.


MDVA Website

Maryland Charity Campaign

Department of Natural Resources Secretary Josh Kurtz and MDVA Secretary Anthony Woods served as the 2023 Maryland Charity Campaign Co-Chairs.  In this photo, Lori Parks, the Maryland Charity Campaign Administrator presents them with awards to recognize their work with the very successful 2023 charity campaign.

Charlotte Hall Volunteer Appreciation Banquet

The Charlotte Hall Veterans Home Volunteer Appreciation Banquet was held last week. In addition to the many volunteers, also attending the event were: MDVA Deputy Secretary Ross Cohen, Sonia Bailey-Gibson, CHVH Administrator, John Lombardi, CHVH Director, and Major George Onyenyeonwu (USAF Ret), Maryland Veterans Home Commissioner.

Thank you to all the volunteers who help us support the Veterans and spouses who reside at Charlotte Hall Veterans Home!

Ft. Meade Alliance

Secretary Woods also attended the Ft. Meade Alliance Career Transition Showcase where transitioning service members and Veterans were offered employment interviews at the event.  MDVA provided a benefits briefing to those attending.  In this photo are Secretary Woods, Tim O'Ferrall, Ft. Meade Alliance General Manager and Doreen Harwood, Ft. Meade Alliance Board Member.

Photo credit: John Coyle

Blue Star Families event in Bowie

Secretary Anthony Woods attended a Maryland Library event at the South Bowie Library recently.  Blue Star Family volunteers MSgt Li Rivera, U.S. Air Force (left) and Eliana staffed a Blue Star Family Resource Table. Yolanda Rayford, Chapter Director of the Baltimore/Chesapeake Region of Blue Star Families is in the center and next to Yolanda is Army Veteran Tanya Cauthen-Smith who was the guest reader for the event.

Hagerstown Commission meeting

The Maryland Veterans Commission meeting was held recently in Hagerstown. In this photo are MDVA Deputy Secretary Ross Cohen, Hagerstown Mayor Tekesha Martinez and Veterans Commission Chairman KT Tyler.  Mayor Martinez welcomed the Commissioners to Hagerstown.

Outreach with Vet Center

It has been a busy week for outreach.  MDVA staff attended multiple events which included many Veteran service providers, including Steve Fyfe and Del Estrella of the United States Vet Centers and Bernadette Fobbs of Apryl Showers.

State Partner News

Purple Star School Designation

Governor Wes Moore recognized public schools that support students from military families.  The schools received the Purple Star School designation.

Baltimore Sun article

Photo courtesy of the Executive Office of the Governor

MCV May Workshop


More News from Maryland's Commitment to Veterans:

We are now accepting applications for the SFY 2025 Sheila E. Hixson Behavioral Health Services Matching Grant for Service Members and Veterans. This grant is for nonprofit organizations to establish and/or expand community behavioral health programs to serve service members, veterans, and their families (SMVF) in Maryland. In order to be eligible to apply for the grant funding, your nonprofit must provide one or more of the following services: mental health treatment, substance use treatment, complementary or alternative therapy, case management, certified peer recovery, or telehealth/telemedicine services in Maryland.

If your organization meets these criteria, you must first register your organization at https://emma.maryland.gov  in order to apply for this grant opportunity.    

Once logged into eMMA, search the following information under sourcing projects. "BPM043855 - Sheila E. Hixson Behavioral Health Services" to take you directly to the application posting.

Please check eMMA regularly for questions related to the procurement.

Application deadline is Thursday, May 23, 2024 at 2pm EDT.

Reveille Grounds

Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development Jake Day and MDVA Deputy Secretary Ross Cohen visited Reveille Grounds to tour and participate in a discussion on serving Maryland Veterans. 

From left to right - Larry Brown (DHCD), Nick Droste (VP, Reveille Grounds), MDVA Deputy Secretary Ross Cohen, DHCD Secretary Jake Day, Katie Kilby (Founder, Reveille Grounds), and Erica Alvidrez (Director, Reveille Grounds). 

Spotlight on Education: Towson University

The Towson University StarTUp Accelerator proudly unveils its sixth cohort, marking a significant milestone in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in Baltimore County and the state of Maryland. With a record number of applications, the selection process was fiercely competitive, resulting in an exceptional cohort comprising individuals with diverse backgrounds and groundbreaking ventures...

As part of the Maryland Joins Forces initiative, Towson University Advancement worked with the Maryland Department of Veteran Affairs (MDVA) to fund a veteran fellow. MDVA Secretary Tony Woods expressed his support for the program and highlighted the importance of sponsoring Marine Corps veteran-founder Casey Jones. “Veterans throughout Maryland are economic drivers,” said Woods. “As a fellow veteran, I’m proud to support Casey and his entrepreneurial endeavors. The leadership, problem-solving and resiliency skills that veterans gain through military service are hallmarks of the entrepreneurial spirit. The StarTUp Accelerator provides invaluable opportunities for veterans to apply these entrepreneurial skills to the benefit of us all.”

Read More Here

Maryland's Veteran-Owned Small Business Enterprise
(VSBE) Program & Resources

Thursday, May 30, 2024

10 a.m. - 12 noon

Are you a veteran entrepreneur? Join us for a look at common procurement best practices, tactics, and protocols to assist veteran business owners compete with greater confidence. We will cover Maryland's Veteran-Owned Small Business Enterprise (VSBE) Program's eligibility standards, the 3-step certification process, and strategies to mine the state's open and transparent procurement pipelines. In addition you will hear from resource partners about business ownership opportunities for people with disabilities, including our Service Disabled Veterans, along with valuable contracting information for individuals with Disability Owned Businesses.

Who should attend? Veteran small business owners interested in learning how to successfully participate in the state's VSBE Program and access additional resources.

Your instructor: Danielle Davis, VSBE Compliance Manager, Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs


News from Maryland Department of Natural Resources:

May is Mental Health Awareness Month



‘Women on the Water’ Workshop Offered May 9

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is hosting “Women on the Water,” a free introductory workshop on boating and fishing for women and girls aged 12 and older, at Seneca Creek State Park on May 9 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Department staff will provide fishing gear for use and teach the basics of fishing. Read more


Striped Bass Emergency Closure Continues into May

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers that Maryland's striped bass fishing closure runs until May 15 in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, and encourages the public to familiarize themselves with the new regulations. Read more.

Mental Health Awareness Month

Join the Behavioral Health Administration's Office of Suicide Prevention in partnership with the Mental Health Association of Maryland (MHAMD) for our Go Green Campaign for Mental Health Awareness Month. We are asking buildings, landmarks, and communities to raise awareness by lighting up green during Mental Health Awareness Week on May 13th through the 19th.

To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week with us, Take pictures, tag us, and share your fliers with our Office. Keep us in the loop so we can share it in our next Scoop Newsletter! Let’s show the entire world how Marylanders Go Green!

Learn more.

Federal Partner News

VA Virtual event

Federal News

Free Lifetime Passes to U. S. National Parks

Free farming and beekeeping opportunities for Veterans

Vet Centers: No-cost counseling for military sexual trauma

Manage Your VA care while traveling

What you need to know about the Change Healthcare cyber breach

New VA Resource Navigator: Finding VA resources

VA and American Kidney Fund Partnership


May 6th: Honoring Jewish American Veterans, Remembering the Holocaust

Live Whole Health #218: Give me a (yoga) break!

Live Whole Health #219: Breakfast burrito, fuel your day for success

Buddy Check: Supporting, connecting with your fellow Veterans

Know before you go: Manage your VA care while traveling

Carry the Load route begins in Maryland on May 4th

Carry the Load, Baltimore and Annapolis

Gulf War Class for Veterans:  Virtual Class in May on Gulf War Exposures and Health 

Gulf War Exposures & Health Concerns is a free, virtual class to help Gulf War Veterans understand potential exposures and health effects, steps to manage symptoms, research findings, and available resources. Join this class on Thursday, May 16 from 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET. You can attend through your personal computer, smart phone, or tablet.

To learn more about the class and to register, see the class flyer at Gulf War Exposures and Health Concerns (va.gov)

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 Calendar

May 4, 2024

Carry the Load, Baltimore National Cemetery, Read More Here

Carry the Load, Annapolis National Cemetery, Read More Here

Aberdeen Proving Ground Career Fair, APG, Register

Saturday Night Comedy Showcase to benefit ELKS Veterans Support Programs, Temple Hills, More information & tickets

May 5, 2024

3rd Annual Veterans Celebration of Carroll CountyWestminster, More Information

May 7, 2024

Frederick County Community Veteran Engagement Board, Frederick

May 8, 2024

Coffee Social for Service Members, Veterans and their families, Emmitsburg

May 13th - 17th, 2024

Military Appreciation Days at Mission BBQ

May 15, 2024

13th Annual Southern MD Hiring Event, Waldorf

Operation Base Camp, Veterans Career and Resources Fair, South Bowie Branch Library

May 16, 2024

Military Family Game Night, Hanover

May 17, 2024

Armed Forces Day Veterans Salute, Annapolis

May 18, 2024

Women Veterans Paddle, St. Mary's River State Park

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

May 19, 2024

34th Annual Massing of the Colors, Fort George G. Meade

May 21, 2024

Meet the Author: William Yeske, Abingdon Library

Four County Veterans Collaborative, Register

May 22, 2024

Operation Base Camp Veterans Career and Resource Fair, Virtual

Women Veterans Floral Design Workshop, Leonardtown

May 23, 2024

13th Annual Veterans Appreciation Ceremony, Upper Marlboro, Register

May 24, 2024

Montgomery County Community Job Fair, Rockville

May 25, 2024

Spring Wellness Workshop (equine-assisted wellness coaching workshop), Gaithersburg

Memorial Day Observances

May 27, 2024

Loudon Park National Cemetery, Baltimore, 11:00 am 

Gilchrist event

American Legion members attended the Welcome Home Vietnam Veteran event hosted by Gilchrist Cares and staffed a resource table assisting Veterans at the event. In this photo are:

1st row:  (L to R) Roger Chang, George Delaney & Birney Smith of Post 300

2nd row:  (L to R) Ernest Puls, Shelby Rogers of Post 300 and Bill Ganz & Ray Staniewski of Post 109

Community News

Easterseals DC MD VA offers a Homeless Veterans Reintegration program.  Read more here. Storytime for military families, Warriors Anonymous and Military Family Game Night 


Colonel Bill Montgomery hosts Veterans SITREP sponsored by Harford Community College. Information on the latest episode


Volunteer for a Veteran Led MIA Recovery Deployment Mission - Read More Here

The Frederick County Community Veterans Engagement Board (CVEB), Platoon 22 and Serving Together collaborative monthly meeting is scheduled the first Tuesday of each month starting at 9:00 AM at the Veterans Service Center, 1750 Monocacy Blvd, Frederick, Maryland.  The meetings are both in-person as well as virtual (see cvebfrederick@gmail.com) to receive notification including the link.

This May 7, 2024 the CVEB meeting starting at 9:00 AM will include presentations by Cynthia Cavalieri, US, Office of Personnel Management-Federal Executive Boards, on Federal Employment opportunities for veterans, transitioning military personnel, and military spouses.  Anne-Marie E. Nelson, MS,CRC, National Vocational Rehabilitation Planning Specialist, VHA Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Service, will discuss how VHA Vocational Rehabilitation programs promote recovery for veterans with barriers to employment from either medical, psychological, or psychosocial issues, with the goal of obtaining meaningful competitive employment; and how employers and community organizations can serve as worksites.  Additionally, Mr. Jonathan Morris, Senior Management Analyst, Defense Health Agency- Office of Warrior Care, will show you a treasure trove of resources available for veterans, service members and their families in the National Resource Directory. Flier

Rebuilding Together

Rebuilding Together - Montgomery County. More Information

Platoon 22 Announces Role in Veterans Treatment Court to Support Veterans in Need

Platoon 22, a leading advocate for veterans' well-being, proudly announces its collaboration with the Veterans Treatment Court to extend crucial support to veterans facing nonviolent offenses. This strategic alliance aims to address the unique challenges veterans encounter, offering a pathway to rehabilitation and stability.

Unlike circuit courts, the Veterans Treatment Court operates at the district level, specifically targeting victimless crimes. Platoon 22 emphasizes that participation in the program is entirely voluntary, respecting veterans' autonomy in choosing the best path forward. Through this opportunity, Platoon 22 has been named as the dedicated Docket Coordinator for District 11 covering Frederick and Washington Counties. This role ensures a harmonious environment conducive to treatment, fostering a supportive community and reducing recidivism rates.

"This partnership underscores our commitment to serving those who served regardless of discharge status or any other extenuating circumstances," stated Niki Falzone, Executive Director at Platoon 22. "By coordinating with the Veterans Treatment Court, we can offer Veterans facing district court level offenses access to essential resources and support systems tailored to their unique needs."

Key highlights of the initiative include:

  • Voluntary Participation:Veterans have the autonomy to choose whether to enroll in the program, ensuring that they are active participants in their rehabilitation journey.

Focus on District Level Court Offenses: The program targets victimless crimes, providing an opportunity for veterans to address underlying issues without the stigma associated with criminal offenses.

14-Month Program: The typical program length spans 14 months, allowing veterans ample time to engage in treatment, access resources, and stabilize their lives.

Through this initiative, Platoon 22 aims to empower veterans, connecting them with vital services such as U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs benefits and local resources. By addressing veterans' specific challenges and barriers, Platoon 22 and the Veterans Treatment Court seek to create a brighter future for those who have bravely served our nation.

For more information about Platoon 22 and its initiatives, visit platoon22.org

Serving Together

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/

Boots & Business Monthly Breakfast

RSVP for May 15th

Future Events: Save the Date

June 1, 2023: Asia on the Creek, AANHI Heritage Festival, Frederick

June 3, 2024: Army Alliance Dinner, Belcamp

June 6, 2024: Good Vibes & Voices Concert, learn about resources for service members, Veterans & families, Elkridge

June 7, 2024: Veteran Stand Down, Cambridge

June 8, 2024: Veteran Stand Down, Salisbury

June 12, 2024: National Women Veteran's Day Entrepreneurship Conference, Baltimore, Register

June 15, 2024: LETS Program Equine-Assisted Workshop Series for Veterans, Gaithersburg

June 22, 2024: Free Veterans Family Fun Day, Burkittsville

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.