14 June 2024 MDVA News and Announcements

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  June 14, 2024

Happy Flag Day and

Happy 249th Birthday to the United States Army!


Message from Secretary Anthony Woods:

Primary Logo

Dear Friends - 

Last week I traveled to France to commemorate the 80-year anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy. On that day, Americans and our allies embarked on what President Roosevelt called the “greatest and most complicated operation ever.” 

We honored veterans of World War II in the solemn resting place of the nearly 10,000 service members who gave up all of their hopes so that generations after them could have a brighter future. During the remarks, we were reminded that the greatest weapon system is not made of metal but is instead free people willing to fight - and in some cases die - for freedom.

During President Biden’s speech, he called on each of us to do our part saying, “democracy is never guaranteed. Every generation must preserve it, defend it, and fight for it. In memory of those who fought here, died here, literally saved the world here, let us be worthy of their sacrifice.”

I will be forever grateful to the aptly named “Greatest Generation” for their service and sacrifice. 



Secretary Woods at American Cemetery

Ribbon Cutting of Benefits Office at Elkton MVA

We are pleased to announce another MDVA office co-located in a Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration facility.  This new office is located in the Elkton Branch MVA office at 105 Chesapeake Blvd, Suite A, Elkton, MD 21921.  This office is staffed by Jim Wilkes, who formerly worked at the MDVA Glen Burnie location. See MVA MDVA Press Release and Video.

If you or a Veteran you know needs assistance with benefit information or help filing a claim for compensation or pension from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, please contact one of the MDVA Service & Benefits offices. 

In the ribbon cutting photo above are: Phil Munley, Director of the MDVA Service and Benefits Program, Jim Wilkes, MDVA Benefits Specialist, Ross Cohen, MDVA Deputy Secretary, Chrissy Nizer, MVA Administrator and Antione Waller, USDVA Director of Baltimore & National Capital Regional Benefits Offices. In the last photo, Jim Wilkes working in his new office.

MDVA Website

Women Veterans Appreciation Day event

Roslyn Jones, MDVA Women Veteran/Inclusion Program Manager (fourth from left) was one of the organizers of the National Women Veteran's Day Entrepreneurship Conference held at Morgan State University on June 12, 2024.

What is Women Veterans Recognition Day? Women Veterans Recognition Day is not a separate Veterans Day for women. The day, celebrated yearly on June 12, recognizes, honors and remembers the signing of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, allowing women the right to permanently serve in the regular armed forces. Read More Here

Claims Clinic Hartford County

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs offered a Veterans Claims Clinic in Harford County this week. The claims clinic was well attended by Veterans filing new claims or claims for an increase in their compensation rating.  If you are considering filing a claim, contact one of the MDVA Benefits staff and schedule an appointment.

University of Baltimore

Secretary Woods and University of Baltimore President Kurt Schmoke signed a Memorandum of Understanding this week.  This agreement provides for the University of Baltimore Law Clinic students to assist Veterans discharged from military service based on sexual orientation or gender identity in seeking discharge upgrades.

MDVA Offsite Meeting

MDVA Directors participated in a planning session with Secretary Woods to help lead the future growth of the Department to better serve Veterans, Service Members and their families.

Secretary Woods, Deputy Secretary Ross, MDVA staff and Maryland Veterans Commissioners participated in many events over the last two weeks. More photos and descriptions of events we attended around the state may be found in the Community News section below.  Please scroll down to view them.

State Partner News

Fleet Week

Governor Wes Moore delivered remarks at the Maryland Fleet Week opening ceremony in Baltimore. The week-long celebration, which is free and open to the public, honors the dedication of service members who defend our freedoms at sea and in the air, both past and present. 

Taking place this year in locations across Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Fells Point, North Locust Point, and Martin State Airport, Fleet Week offers opportunities to explore vessels, providing a window into naval life across history, in addition to maritime and aviation STEM activities and educational programs. 

To learn more about Maryland Fleet Week and Flyover Baltimore—including information about participating vessels, festival site locations, and flyover information—visit https://www.visitmaryland.org/things-to-do/fleet-week

Read More Here

Photo courtesy of the Executive Office of the Governor

The Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs

Maryland Flag Waiving

Who should attend? Small, minority, women, and veteran business owners and entrepreneurs who want to improve their digital marketing skills.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024:

Strategies for Digital Marketing: Register

Thursday, June 27, 2024:

Anatomy of a Bid: Register

What you need to know:

  • There is no cost to attend.
  • Advance registration is required. Attendees receive a unique link to join the event.
  • This session will be recorded; by registering, you are consenting to be recorded. 
  • All attendees will be in listen mode only (your camera will be off and your mic is muted).
  • A Q&A session will be conducted following the presentation
  • Special Accommodation requests should be made 14 days in advance to eduardo.hayden@maryland.gov

Gov. Moore Proclaims June 15th World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Maryland

Governor Wes Moore has proclaimed June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) in Maryland to promote dialogue and action on the issue of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older adults. Department of Aging Secretary Carmel Roques presented Gov. Moore's Proclamation on June 10th at AARP's PROTECT Week kick-off press conference in Annapolis, MD.

If you suspect abuse or neglect of a resident living in a long-term care facility, contact your local Ombudsman through the Maryland Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. Ombudsmen are advocates for residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities and will work to resolve problems of individual residents and improve residents' care and quality of life. Ombudsmen services are always free and confidential.

For information on WEEAD events or to learn more about how to identify or prevent abuse, fraud, and neglect, visit aging.maryland.gov.

Maryland Service Year Applications Due June 15th!

My Fellow Marylanders,

I believe that service will save us, and by calling on young Marylanders to serve – and serve together – we will ensure our citizens develop skills to meet society’s needs. 

Through our Service Year Option program, participants will gain real world work skills, earn at least $15 per hour, get help with transportation and child care needs, and, at completion of their service, $6,000 to use toward tuition costs or as a cash stipend.

If you know someone who would be a great Service Year Option Member, tell them to apply before the next deadline, June 15th at serve.maryland.gov

For an inside look at the Service Year Option and to hear firsthand experiences from participants, check out this year’s application launch video.

Thank you for helping us spread the word. 

In Service,

Governor Wes Moore

Federal Partner News

Federal News

June 15: Pride Counts at the VA: LGBTQ+ services at the VA Maryland Health Care System, Dundalk Vet Center

Nominate someone for the 2025 Women Veterans Trailblazer Initiative

Juneteenth: Understanding the Journey from Our Roots on June 18th at 12:00pm, Join Live

June 25th: LGBTQ+ Campfire Chat hosted by the VA Center for Minority Veterans and the VA Center for Women Veterans

You're invited to the 4th annual VA National Virtual Pride Campaign

Service dogs may reduce PTSD symptoms for military members and families, NIH article

Register for the PTSD Awareness Virtual Walk

Discover PTSD Resources during PTSD Awareness Month

Metallica encourages Veterans to reach out for support

Veterans: Your suicide crisis doesn't have to define your future

Veterans: Do we have your correct address?

Telehealth increases accessibility to VA sleep medicine programs

Get 1-on-1 assistance at VA VetFest events across the country

A Lifetime of VA Benefits

Helping men break the stigma of reporting sexual violence

Women's health awareness: Empowering women, cultivating health

VA Education Benefits - Graduate Debt Free

Live Whole Health #224: Take a mini-mental vacation

Live Whole Health #225: Take a pause to take a breath

Fresh Focus episodes #82-87: Snacking made simple

VA updates home loan benefits, helping Veterans remain competitive in the housing market

Gaming Fraud

Free online courses for Veterans needing business start-up or accelerator help

News from Medicare:

Trying to find a hospital nearby with doctors that accept Medicare? Or, perhaps you're planning to have surgery or are thinking about your future needs? Visit Medicare.gov to compare hospitals in your area.

Understanding your choices will help you have a more informed discussion with your doctor or other health care provider — and choose the hospital that's best for you.

Search for Hospitals

Make the most out of your hospital search:

  • Look at a hospital's overall and patient star ratings.The overall rating is based on how well a hospital performs across different areas of quality, like treating heart attacks or safety of care. The patient survey star rating measures patients' experiences of their hospital care.
  • Compare a hospital's performance against national averagesfor patient experiences, timely and effective care, complications, and more.


The Medicare Team

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 12 - 18, 2024

Fleet Week, Baltimore

June 14, 2024

Flag Day Celebration, Leonardtown

Flag Retirement Ceremony, Ellicott City

June 15, 2024

LETS Program Equine-Assisted Workshop Series for Veterans, Gaithersburg

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

Team River Runner, Family Kayaking, Bolingbroke Park, Trappe

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

Four County Veterans Collaborative (Prince Georges, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's), Register

Veteran Institute for Procurement Small Business Training, Virtual

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

Team River Runner, Full Moon Kayaking, Mallows Bay Park, Najamoy

June 22, 2024

Odd Fellows Car Show Competition, Edgemere VFW, Sparrows Point

Free Veterans Family Fun Day, Burkittsville

Team River Runner, Family Kayaking, Jefferson-Patterson Park, St. Leonard

June 25, 2024

Easterseals Community Fun Fair, Silver Spring

Help, Healing and Hope Summit 2024, Arnold

June 26, 2024

Prince George's County Base Camp, Virtual

June 29, 2024

Team River Runner, Evening Fireworks Kayaking, Endeavor Point Campground, Benedict

July 2, 2024

Frederick Veterans Engagement Board, Frederick and Virtual

July 4, 2024

Team River Runner, Daytime Fireworks Kayaking, Marshall Hall Landing, Bryans Road

July 13, 2024

Team River Runner, Lotus Blossom Kayaking, Anacostia Park, Washington, DC

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Read More Here about the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s (BSO) Music for Maryland Tour makes its 2024 return, delivering eight, pay-what-you-wish performances across the state of Maryland.

Community News

Women Veteran Wednesday at Easterseals


Service Day Drive Donation List from the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Easterseals


Coffee Social Dates for Service Members, Veterans and their Families in Emmitsburg and Frederick


Listen to the latest edition of the Podcast "A Little Bit Louder" where interviewer Shana Cosgrove talks with Kassie Sandacz about Voices of Vets.

Project Opportunity - Free Entrepreneur Training for Veterans, Active Duty and Guard/Reserve Personnel

Anne Arundel Fall 2024 Orientation Session, Monday, August 19th

Baltimore Fall 2024 Orientation Session, Tuesday, August 20th

Prince George's County Fall Orientation Session for Spouses, Thursday, August 22nd

Yoga opportunities for the military connected community, including Service Dog Yoga offered by All Houseworth.  Read More Here

News from Community Building Art Works:

The Seasons Change Us in partnership with the Strathmore - Thursday, June 20th at 7pm EST - Virtual

Join Hari Alluriauthor of Our Echo of Sudden Mercy, on Thursday, June 20th at 7pm EST for this special Summer Solstice workshop in our series in partnership with the Strathmore. The closing lines of Sanctificum by Chris Abani read: “They say you cannot say this in a poem. / That you cannot say love and mean anything. / That you cannot say soul and approach heaven. / But the sun is no fool, I tell you. / It will rise for nothing less.” In this Summer Solstice workshop we will look to poems that invoke the sun, ask ourselves what it means to be changed by the world around us, and write through the things we wish to change, towards the shifts within ourselves from which our writing connects back to the world. Our partners at Strathmore want these workshops to be as accessible as possible, so they are priced as “pay what you can.” You will be prompted to enter an amount of your choice when you register. (If you are registering for free, please enter $0.) If you are able to pay for these workshops, every dollar goes to support Strathmore’s education programs. Register HERE.

How to Submit - July 11th at 7:00pm (Virtual)

Want to start submitting your work for publication but aren't sure where to start? Need a step-by-step guide on submitting including cover letters, bios, and how to keep track of it all?  Join author and publisher Courtney LeBlanc on Thursday, July 11th at 7pm EST to learn about the process of submitting your work to presses and journals from start to finish. Ticket sales from this fundraising workshop will benefit Community Building Art Works programs for veterans, service members, military families, and health care workers. A limited number of FREE tickets for Veterans, Service Members, and Healthcare workers are available on a first come, first served basis. Register HERE.

More Than One Story - Next Virtual Orientation June 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. For more information, email info@cbaw.org.

Annapolis 9/11 Heroes Run - September 15th

The Travis Manion Foundation, a Maryland Joins Forces partner, will host its Annapolis 9/11 Heroes Run at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Sunday, 15 September at 11am.  The race is in its 13th year in Annapolis, and honors the military members and first responders who have given their lives in the service of country and community.  The Annapolis Heroes Run has three categories: a 5K run/walk, a 5K ruck sponsored by GoRuck, and a one-mile family fun run/walk named for Dematha Catholic High School graduate Brendan Looney (USNA '04).  Registration is now open at 911heroesrun.org/annapolis.


Listen to the Veterans SITREP podcast. Every Thursday at 6:30 PM, host Colonel Bill Montgomery (U.S. Army, Retired) will interview featured guests. The program will be broadcast live on WHFC 91.1 FM, live streamed, and become available on the WHFC Podcast webpage and available on Spotify.

Future Events: Save the Date

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

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

July 20, 2024: Wellspring of Life Farm Discovery Time for Military and First Responder Families, Monkton

July 26, 2024: Arundel Lodge Veterans Discussion Group, Edgewater

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

September 15, 2024: Travis Manion Foundation Annapolis 9/11 Heroes Run

MOAA Meeting

Robert Finn, MDVA Senior Advisor attended a meeting of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Star Spangled Banner Chapter.  From let to right are: George Stakias, President, Rob Paolucci, Bob Finn and Chaplain Ted Knach.

Elkton Vet Center

Deputy Secretary Ross Cohen visited the Elkton Vet Center and spoke with Veterans and staff there.

AMVETS Convention

Deputy Secretary Ross Cohen on the right, presents a Proclamation from Governor Moore to Commander Bruce Rice, AMVETS Department of Maryland at the annual AMVETS conference.

Photo credit: Karla Lathroum

Commissioner Stem

Maryland Veterans Commissioner Elaine May Stem (standing), represented Secretary Woods and placed a Memorial wreath at a ceremony held by the Sons of the American Revolution, Westminster Chapter. The ceremony marked the dedication of the Bruceville Encampment Marker Dedication.

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.