17 May 2024 MDVA News and Announcements

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  May 17, 2024


Message from Secretary Anthony Woods:

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Dear Friends,

This month marks the 75th observance of Armed Forces Day, a moment to honor everyone who wears the uniform in service of our great country. A tradition begun by President Truman, Armed Forces Day is about gratitude.

In my public remarks this afternoon at 1PM at the World War II Memorial in Annapolis, I’ll talk about the incredible members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Space Force, and Coast Guard — as well as their family members. They are the best of Maryland and America, and we thank them for all they do. 

Thanks to the tireless efforts of advocates, many of the barriers that had historically prevented Black people, members of the LGBTQ community, and women from full and equal service have been eliminated. Today our nation and our interests are defended by the strongest, most diverse military in the world. 

At the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs, we show our gratitude by assisting veterans, active duty service members, their families, and dependents in securing benefits earned through military service. Our goal is to become the best in the nation at it. 

Throughout our history, people of all backgrounds from across this nation have been called to serve. We can thank them by opening up opportunities for them and their families, and eliminating barriers to the benefits and resources they need to thrive here in our state. 

We can thank them in the way President Truman, who desegregated the military and initiated this holiday, would have wanted us to — by our deeds. 

With gratitude,


Hello Girl

Secretary Woods spoke at the ceremony honoring Marie Edmee LeRoux who served in World War I in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, a unit nicknamed the "Hello Girls", because they worked as multilingual telephone operators in France.  The Hello Girls were finally granted Veterans status in 1977.  The grave of Ms. LeRoux was unmarked until this ceremony, when she received full military honors and a marker provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Program from the ceremony.

WMAR2news article    Washington Post article

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, Assistant Director, Veteran Cemetery and Memorials Program – keith.brown@maryland.gov


MDVA Website

In Memoriam:

Maryland Veterans Commissioner Victor Fuentealba

It is with sadness we report the passing of Maryland Veterans Commissioner Victor Fuentealba who represented the Military Order of the Purple Heart on the Commission. Commissioner Fuentealba's service to the Commission was exemplary. He was a dedicated Commissioner, who provided wise counsel during meetings and represented the Department well.

We extend our sincere condolences to Commissioner Fuentealba's family and friends.


Elizabeth Dole

Maryland's First Lady, Dawn Flythe Moore and Secretary Woods attended an event honoring former U. S. Senator Elizabeth Dole.  Senator Dole was recently awarded the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Biden. Also in this photo are some of the Dole Caregiver Fellows.

Photo courtesy of the Executive Office of the Governor

Veteran Business event

The Governor’s Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs (GOSBA) co-hosted the 2024 Small Business Military Appreciation Breakfast with Prince George’s Community College at their Largo campus. 

In this photo are: Danielle Davis, VSBE Program Compliance Manager, GOSBA, Major General Janeen Birckhead, Maryland's Adjutant General, Secretary Woods and Yolanda Maria Martinez, Special Secretary, GOSBA.

DAV Convention

Secretary Woods spoke at the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Department of Maryland Annual Convention.  In this photo are, from left to right:

Robert L. Young, Senior Vice Commander/Chapter Service Officer; 

Mrs. Joyce Parker, Veteran/Chapter Volunteer; 

David L. Stevens, 2nd Junior Vice Commander/Chapter Service Officer; 

Georgia A. Eaves, Adjutant/Chapter Service Officer; 

Secretary Anthony Woods, Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs;

Oscar W. Mardis, Commander, GEN Melvin J. Maas Memorial Chapter 17/Department of Maryland 2nd Junior Vice Commander; 

Inez M. Dent, Chapter Service Officer; and 

Glynn Parker, Maryland Past Department Commander/Past National Executive Committee Representative for District 6/Commander, Ernie Pyle Chapter 4.  Commissioner Parker also serves on the Maryland Veterans Home Commission.

Bob Finn

MDVA Senior Advisor Bob Finn speaks to the Veterans and family members attending the 3rd Annual Veterans Celebration of Carroll County.

State Partner News


Governor Wes Moore issues Proclamation for Memorial Day, 2024

Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council


Developmental Disabilities Council

We want to learn from you! MDVA partnered with the Developmental Disabilities Council to make sure service members and veterans who have family members with developmental disabilities have the information they need and want. Answer a quick survey to help us. This survey has 5 questions and should take 2 minutes to complete.

Take Survey Here

Governor's Office

The Governor’s Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs co-hosted the 2024 Small Business Military Appreciation Breakfast with Prince George’s Community College at their Largo campus. Over 125 members of the military and entrepreneurial communities attended the event which commemorates both National Military Appreciation Month and National Small Business Appreciation Month. 

Maryland Department of Aging Works to Combat Ageism

Reframing Aging

The Maryland Department of Aging and the National Center to Reframe Aging have partnered to change the way society talks about aging, work​ to end implicit bias toward older people, and create more age-inclusive communities.

“The attitudes that contribute to age bias are often rooted in falsehoods and have a significant negative impact on society,” said Secretary Roques. “Through this partnership, we look forward to advancing a more productive narrative about aging and the advantages of longer life spans, ultimately leading to the development of policies and programs that benefit all of us, young and old.”

The partnership, formed as part of Longevity Ready Maryland, will include educational workshops, consultation, and technical assistance across a variety of sectors on how to better communicate about aging and the contributions older people bring to society.

To learn more, visit Aging.Maryland.Gov/ReframeAging. For information on Longevity Ready Maryland, visit LRM.Maryland.Gov.

News from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources

One Month Later: Natural Resources Police Played Important Role in Key Bridge Incident Response

Now one month removed from the disaster, NRP officers continue extended patrol of the safety zone, monitor traffic in temporary channels, and assist with transporting officials and members of joint allied agencies to the scene. Read more.

At Maryland’s State Nursery, Staff Grow Trees by the Millions

Little green saplings progressed down rows of conveyor belts. On both sides of the line, workers sifted through bread trays stacked with young trees, bundling them and placing them on the belt. At the end of the row, a worker lifted the clump from the creaking machinery and whacked it with a machete to prune off excess roots. 
This is just a small step in the production process at the state nursery, part of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Forest Service, which oversees trees from seed to sapling, planting them, growing them, and then shipping them out. Read more 

Third Annual Snakehead Derby Held June 8

Snakes on the Dundee III takes place at Gunpowder Falls State Park, Dundee Creek Marina in Middle River on June 8. This free-to-enter public outreach and fishing derby event is designed to educate and encourage harvest of northern snakehead, a fish introduced into Maryland and causing harm to some of its ecosystems. Learn how how to fish (either hook-and-line or bowfishing) and how to filet a snakehead. A food truck will be on-hand with free samples of snakeheads while supplies last! Read more.

Maryland License-Free Fishing Days Provide Access to Angling for All

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will offer license-free fishing days for all state residents and visitors on June 1, June 8, and July 4. These annual events provide anglers a unique opportunity to explore the state’s diverse fishing without needing a fishing license, trout stamp, or registration. Read more.

Federal Partner News

Federal News

VA to expand health care coverage to Veteran family members and caregivers through CHAMPVA

Nurse at VA Maryland Health Care System Recognized with VA Secretary's Award for Excellence in Nursing

Veterans join VA program to help improve mental health research

Mental Health is just one factor in a Veteran's risk for suicide

National Cemetery Administration adds options for commemorative plaques and urns

Women Veterans: Suicide is preventable and support is available

Sexual violence and Asian American/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Veterans

VET Centers: No-cost counseling for military sexual trauma

PTSD Resources for Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve members podcast

Veterans: New website for ordering contact lenses

Live Whole Health #220: Moving Forward

Live Whole Health #221: Gentle Stretches for busy lives

Medicare covers many mental health services

Social Media Safety Toolkit for Veterans, Their Families and Friends

The PBS 2024 National Memorial Day Concert

May 30th: VA Center for Minority Veterans AANHPI Heritage Month Celebration

June is PTSD Awareness Month

Get active with us during PTSD Awareness Month! Join us for our fourth annual Step Up for PTSD Awareness Virtual WalkComplete 30 minutes of exercise during June in recognition of PTSD Awareness Month.  

Help us raise PTSD awareness: 

There are currently around 12 million people in the United States with PTSD. Even though treatments work, most people don't get the help they need. Become an advocate for PTSD awareness and share this message.


Dial 988, then Press 1

Protect Yourself from Fraud

Always be on the lookout for fraudulent activity.

VA will never reach out to you to solicit money for research. When interacting with VA, always make sure that you're using a VA.gov website:

  • Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil— before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site
  • https:// ensures that you're connecting to the official websiteand that any information you provide is encrypted and sent securely

Please report any suspicious requests to your local authorities. For more information about how to protect yourself from fraud, visit VA.gov/VSAFE. You can also access this VA Fraud Protection Kit

-Team VA

VA Fraud Information 


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 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 CollaborativeRegister

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

May 28, 2024

Veterans Business Networking Event, Mitchellville

May 29, 2024

Prince George's County Veterans Outreach Event

Memorial Day Observances

May 26, 2024

Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony in Annapolis,10:00am

American Legion Post 156 & Marine Corps League Detachment 1084, St. John Episcopal Church, Ellicott City, 11:00am

VFW Post Post 7472, Ellicott City, 2:00pm

May 27, 2024

Marine Corps League Detachment 1084, Harriet Tubman Cultural Center, Columbia, 8:00am

Rockville Memorial Day Ceremony and Parade, 9:00 am

Westminster Memorial Day Remembrance Parade and Observance Ceremony, 10:00 am

Loudon Park National Cemetery, Baltimore, 11:00 am 

Berlin Memorial Day Parade, 11:00

More Memorial Day and weekend events

Community News

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

Mentors are needed for Veterans Treatment Courts in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County. Read more about the program here.  If you are interested in being a Mentor please contact Justin McNabb at Justin.McNabb@uwcm.org or 410-895-1393.

Baltimore County Veterans Commission

The Baltimore County Veterans Commission meets monthly. More Information

Operation Second Chance Events for Caregivers :

Healing Arts Summer Series for Women Veterans:

Operation Second Chance is pleased to present a Women Veterans Healing Arts Program series, generously supported by the St. Mary's Art Council and Maryland State Art Council. This program is designed to be inclusive, welcoming all women veterans, regardless of military era, time in service, or disability rating. 

The Healing Arts Program offers a safe and supportive space for women veterans to come together and participate in various healing arts activities. These activities are not just about creating art, but also about finding healing. Our goal is to support the well-being of women veterans through artistic expression and community building with others who have similar experiences. We value your unique experiences and are here to inspire, support, and empower you! 

Sign up for a free workshop today!  Link to sign up

News from Community Building Art Works:

The Highway of Thought: A CBAW Memorial Day Event with David Hilliard  - Monday, May 27th at 12pm EST - Virtual

This Memorial Day, join us for a special artist talk by photographer David Hilliard. For decades, David Hilliard and his father (Veteran), Raymond, collaborated on The Dad Series. This lecture will examine 3 decades of collaborative picture making with David and his father. The images depict various stages of his father's life, their relationship and his father's ultimate passing. David will speak about the highs and lows of really committing to a project, with all of its challenges and art-making as a healing tool.

The artist talk will be followed by an Open Art Studio Session lead by Veteran and Artist, Valerie Acosta. The final work of art from the Collaborative Painting Project will be unveiled. This virtual event is open to all, and tickets are free. Donations are accepted to support Community Building Art Works programs for Veterans, service members, military families, and healthcare workers. Register at: https://MemorialDay2024.eventbrite.com.

Serving in Strength - May 29th at 3:00pm (In Person at the Military Women's Memorial & Virtual)

Join us at the Military Women's Memorial for Serving in Strength, a health and wellness series designed to address the unique health needs of military women through a series of educational events throughout the year. Wednesday, May 29th will focus on Mental Health Awareness Month. Discussions will explore a wide range of current research initiatives and best practices: physical and behavioral health- traditional and non-traditional treatments; stories of personal experience; the latest on TBI research specific to women. The program will be followed by a networking reception where guests are invited to network and explore resources via informational tables throughout the Memorial’s gallery.Can't make it in person? Register and join us virtually to see the event streamed LIVE! Register HERE.

More Than One Story - Next Virtual Orientation June 11th

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.

Blue Star Families has lots of news and upcoming events. Read more below:

Join the Blue Star Families Neighborhood - Blue Star Neighborhood is an online platform exclusively for members of Blue Star Families.  It is where members, located around the world, can gather in a virtual setting to enjoy all that Blue Star Families has to offer.  Our Chapter Communities are the heart of The Neighborhood.  Inside members get connected to resources and events both virtual and in local communities, career opportunities, resources, perks from top brands, Blue Star Families research,  and so much more!  Join the Neighborhood  - click here Join the Neighborhood

Blue Star Museums 

Blue Star Museums is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and Blue Star Families, in collaboration with the Department of Defense and museums across America, offering free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including the National Guard and Reserve. The 2024 Blue Star Museums program begins on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 18, 2024, and ends on Labor Day, Monday, September 2, 2024. For more information on Blue Star Museums, please see our Frequently Asked Questions.  Use the link to check out the locations here in Maryland Blue Star Museums

May Coffee Connections

Future Events: Save the Date

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

June 3, 2024: Army Alliance Dinner, Belcamp

June 4, 2024: Frederick County Community Veteran Engagement Board, Frederick

June 5, 2024: LGBTQ+ Active Duty and Veteran support closed in-person group, Silver Spring

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 12, 2024: Coffee Social for Service Members, Veterans and their families, Emmitsburg

June 13, 2024: Small Business Contracting Summit, Joint Base Andrews

June 14, 2024: Flag Day Celebration, Leonardtown

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

June 15, 2024: Army's 249th Birthday, sponsored by AUSA, Ft. Meade

June 21, 2024: VA Claims Clinic & Resource Fair, Baltimore

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.