31 May 2024 MDVA News and Announcements

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  May 31, 2024


Message from Secretary Anthony Woods:


Emily Perez

Dear Friends,

Memorial Day is a moment to reflect, remember, and honor those that gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation. Since the American Revolution, more than 660,000 Americans - our country’s sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, close friends and community leaders - have given their lives in combat. 

Maryland is no stranger to that sacrifice. In my office hangs a list of the names and hometowns of the 126 Marylanders killed in the operations supporting the Global War on Terrorism. It’s a reminder of the sacrifice of Marylanders and the communities that raised them.

Earlier this week, I shared the story of one such hero—a brave woman from Maryland named Emily Perez, whom I had the honor of knowing.

Emily graduated from Oxon Hill High School in Prince George’s County before attending West Point. Known as “Taz” for her fiery energy, Emily was a star athlete and an exemplary student, graduating in the top 10% of her class. She became the first black female cadet Brigade Command Sergeant Major at West Point - a testament to her aptitude for leadership and future Army service.

After graduating in 2005, Emily deployed to Iraq as part of the medical services corps. Despite her “non-combat” role, she often led convoys. On September 12, 2006, nearing the end of her deployment, Emily was killed when her vehicle was struck by an IED. She was the first African American female officer to die in combat in U.S. history.

Emily embodied our nation’s highest ideals. She embodied the best of Maryland. As we remembered her and countless others this past Memorial Day, let us be inspired by their courage and commitment to our nation's enduring values.

I hope you all had a reflective and meaningful Memorial Day.

Warm regards,


Garrison Forest Cemetery on Memorial Day

MDVA Secretary Anthony Woods and Maryland Comptroller Brooke Lierman participated in the Memorial Day ceremony at Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery.

Photo Credit: Corey Jennings

Hiring Our Heroes

Secretary Anthony Woods, Deputy Secretary Ross Cohen, Maryland Senator Dawn Gile and Carroll County Commissioner Kenneth Kiler accepted the Community Leader IMPACT AWARD 2024 at the Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Employment Summit on behalf of            Governor Wes Moore and the State of Maryland.

This recognition underscores Maryland’s unwavering commitment to assisting Military Spouses to thrive both inside and outside of military bases. Together, we are focused on building a strong, inclusive community through economic opportunities that will uplift Maryland’s military families. Thank you, @Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Program, for this wonderful honor.

See Video

Armed Forces Day in Annapolis

Secretary Woods spoke at the World War II Memorial in Annapolis for an observance of Armed Forces Day.  In this photo are Lisa Hughes, Arundel Lodge, Secretary Woods and Kevin Hazucha, Executive Director, Arundel Lodge.

Capital Gazette article and photos

Charlotte Hall Memorial Day

A Memorial Day Ceremony was held for residents and staff at Charlotte Hall Veterans Home.

Rocky Gap Veterans Cemetery

The Memorial Day ceremony at Rocky Gap Veterans Cemetery in Western Maryland was well attended.  Deputy Secretary Ross Cohen served as the keynote speaker.

CareFirst Team at Garrison Forect

The CareFirst Team turned out in force to place flags at Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery.  We appreciate their work helping prepare for Memorial Day.  They also return each year after Memorial Day to remove the flags. Thank you CareFirst Team!

Mission Beelieve

MDVA Senior Advisor Robert Finn (left) and Maryland Veterans Commissioner Elaine May Stem (right) represented Secretary Anthony Woods at a ribbon cutting ceremony at Mission Beelieve in Taneytown.  Mission Beelieve provides beekeeping education for Veterans and First Responders.  In the center is Mission Believe Director, Monica Schmitt.

Russ Ware Photo

Russ Ware, Director of the MDVA Cemetery & Memorials Program accepts an award for the significant reduction in on the job injuries at MDVA.

MDVA Website

State Partner News

Governor Moore Memorial Day

Governor Moore Honors Fallen Service Members on Memorial Day.

Read More Here

Photo courtesy of the Executive Office of the Governor

Maryland's Commitment to Veterans June Workshop

CONSUMER ALERT: Scammers Targeting E-ZPass Users in   Fake Texts   

Attorney General Anthony G. Brown is warning consumers about scam texts falsely claiming to represent a road toll collection service asserting that you owe money for unpaid tolls. The scam text looks similar to the example displayed below:  

Maryland Toll Services: We've noticed an outstanding toll amount of $12.51 on your record. To avoid a late fee of $50.00, visit https://sunspasstolls.com to settle your invoice. 

Do not pay any money or reveal any personal information to any person or group that contacts you through a text about a toll debt.  

If you receive one of these texts, the Attorney General recommends that you: 

  • Do NOT click on any links in the text. 
  • File a complaint with the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at ic3.gov, and be sure to include:
    • The phone number from which the text originated; and
    • The website listed in the text.
  • Check your account using the toll service’s legitimate website. For Maryland E-ZPass, this website is https://driveezmd.com/
  • Contact the toll service’s customer service phone number. Maryland E-ZPass’ customer service number is 1-888-321-6824.
  • After doing the above, delete any texts like this that you receive. 

If you have received a text like this and paid the texter any amount of money or revealed any personal information, follow these steps: 

  • Contact the company that facilitated the funds transfer to see if you can stop the payment.
  • Contact the Attorney General’s Identity Theft Unitto learn how to protect yourself in case the scammers try to use your personal information and how to recover if you are impacted
  • Contact your local law enforcement department to report the theft. 
  • Report the incident to the Office of the Attorney Generalor the Federal Trade Commission

This alert was issued to all consumers who have subscribed to receive consumer information from our office. Consumers can subscribe to this list here: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/MDAG/subscriber/new.

News from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Tuckahoe State Park to Host Celebration of National Trails Day June 1

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Office of Outdoor Recreation and Tuckahoe State Park invite the public to celebrate National Trails Day on Saturday, June 1 with a full day of family-friendly programs at the park. Visitors will be invited to take part in activities such as guided walks, prize raffles, a fishing derby, informational displays, archery programs and much more.

The day’s event will kick off at 10 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting for Tuckahoe’s new Lore of the Land: Sensory Trail. This type of trail, planned specifically for people with disabilities and sensory impairments in particular, encourages visitors to use more of their senses, which will benefit all ages and abilities. Read more.

Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey Results Reported

The Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey, a cooperative effort between the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), estimates 317 million blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay in 2024, compared to 323 million crabs last year. Read more.

Maryland Summer-Fall Striped Bass Season Begins

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced regulations for the summer recreational striped bass fishing season beginning May 16, 2024, which continues existing conservation measures put in place in an effort to protect the striped bass fishery on the East Coast.

Striped bass season in the mainstem of the Chesapeake Bay opened May 16; the remainder of Bay waters, including its tidal tributaries will open June 1 through July 15. Read more.

Federal Partner News

Veterans Claims Clinic, Edgewood

Federal News

VA Maryland Health Care System's 2024 Veterans Creative Arts Competition

TeleRheumatology - Virtual care to Veterans with arthritis and rheumatic conditions

Five virtual resources for older Veterans to remain active

Mental Health: Million Veteran Program research supports Veteran well-being

Six apps to help manage stress

Live Whole Health #222: Under Acupressure

Live Whole Health #223: Chicken Vegetable Stir Fry

VA grants 1 million claims under toxic exposure law; 19,274 approved in Maryland, Maryland Matters article

Veteran Buddy Checks

National Cemetery Administration's Cemetery Restoration Project Thrives

Understanding VA Survivors benefits and best practices for avoiding posthumous scams

Facing Foreclosure? VA shares important updates to help you keep your home

Speaking civilian: Taking military jargon off of your resume

VA offers telework opportunities for military spouses through 4+1 Commitment

If you have a few minutes, check out the VA song program to honor nurses:

A Prayer for Another Soul: A VA Nurse's Journey to Healing

Learning to Laugh: Coping with the Stress of Combat

Overcoming the Odds: A VA Nurse's Journey to a Dream

Calm in the Chaos: A VA Nurse's Commitment to Service

More Nurse's songs

VA Center for Women Veterans event

Women Veterans Summit

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

June 1, 2024

Asia on the Creek, AANHI Heritage Festival, Frederick

June 2, 2024

Fundraiser to benefit construction of the Howard County Veterans & Military Veterans Monument, Columbia

June 3, 2024

Army Alliance Dinner, Belcamp

June 4, 2024

Frederick County Community Veteran Engagement Board, Frederick

June 5, 2024

Baltimore County Commission on Veterans Affairs June meeting, Towson and Virtual - Meeting Link

LGBTQ+ Active Duty and Veteran support in-person group, Silver Spring

June 6, 2024

Good Vibes & Voices Concert, learn about resources for service members, Veterans & families, Elkridge

Maryland Commission on Civil Rights Pride Event, Virtual, Register

June 7, 2024

Veteran Stand Down, Cambridge

June 8, 2024

Veteran Resource Fair, Severna Park

Veteran Stand Down, Salisbury

Veterans Academic and Community Resource Day, Hughesville

June 12, 2024

National Women Veteran's Day Entrepreneurship Conference, Baltimore, Register

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

June 13, 2024

Maryland's Commitment to Veterans Workshop, Virtual

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

Army's 249th Birthday, sponsored by AUSA, Ft. Meade

June 17, 2024

Fundraiser to benefit construction of the Howard County Veterans & Military Veterans Monument, Columbia

June 18, 2024

State of Maryland Procurement Connections Workshop, MGM National Harbor

June 20, 2024

Free Entrepreneur Workshop hosted by Project Opportunity: How to have an awesome first appointment, Baltimore

VA Center for Women Veterans: America's Tapestry, Women Veteran Stories

June 21, 2024

VA Claims Clinic & Resource Fair, Baltimore

June 22, 2024

Free Veterans Family Fun Day, Burkittsville

June 25, 2024

Help, Healing and Hope Summit 2024, Arnold

Community News

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


CRAB Sailing invites Recovering Warriors to join the monthly sailing days. Read More Here


Voices of Vets Presents: More Than Pictures - Memorial Day 2024

The Frederick County Community Veterans Engagement Board Collaborative monthly meeting is scheduled on 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.

Zoom Meeting ID: 834 3500 4082

Password: 890799


This June 4, 2024, the CVEB meeting starting at 9:00 AM will discuss PTSD treatment modalities.  Arron J. Banas, PsyD, Lead Clinician, Steven A. Cohen Military and Family Clinic at Easterseals and J. Gregory Jolissaint, MD, Veterans Healthcare Advocate, will discuss current treatment options.

Serving Together

Jason Marshall of ServingTogether discusses services with another Veteran.

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 Sergent 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/

Future Events: Save the Date

July 13, 2024: Equine-Assisted Workshop Series for Veterans, 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

Commissioner Davis Memorial Day photo

Maryland Veterans Commissioner CAPT (Ret) Jerome D. Davis, SC, USN attended the PFC John C. DeMarr, Jr. Memorial DAV Chapter 36 Memorial Day Ceremony held on Monday, May 29, 2024, at Trinity Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Waldorf. Held in honor of the Chapter namesake PFC John C. DeMarr, Jr., USA and his Gold Star Mother Mrs. Blanche E. DeMarr.  PFC DeMarr died of wounds after serving in Vietnam in 1968.  The Chapter was well represented at the ceremony.  Special note is made regarding DAV Chapter 36 Commander Jim Waters and Comrade Margurite Stubbs for their exceptional performance in officiating the ceremony.  PFC DeMarr's family was thankful for today's ceremony. PFC John C. DeMarr , Jr. Memorial DAV Chapter 36 is located in Waldorf, Maryland.

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.