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Dear Friends
     Happy Memorial Day!  This is a special day for all Americans, as we honor those who have died in service to our country.  I would also want to send a message of support and appreciation to all of our active and retired military and those who have served and are serving in the Reserves.  All of you and your families sacrifice so much for the rest of our country.  I want to say a huge thank you for your time and efforts on our behalf.  
     In addition, I wanted to review a few of our state and federal veterans benefits which may be of use to you or someone you know, please share.  These resources are listed below and also on my website at www.delegategeraldine.com  Of course, feel free to call my office at 301-858-3340 or email me at Geraldine.Valentino@house.state.md.us should you have additional questions or require assistance. 
Again, Happy Memorial Day to all.  Have a safe and enjoyable holiday.

Geraldine Valentino-Smith
Delegate, Maryland House of Delegates, District 23A
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Veterans Resources:

Maryland's Commitment to Veterans
is a Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) program devoted to total wellness for veterans and their families.  Regional resource coordinators provide assistance to veterans and their families to support a healthy transition to civilian life.  With support from the DHMH's Behavioral Health Administration, they provide a solid connection to wellness services, with an emphasis on mental health and substance use disorder services.
Maryland's Commitment to Veterans also has dedicated funds to provide for the coordination and facilitation of transportation for veterans to and from behavioral health appointments.  Coordinators are available to answer questions, address concerns, or help with any obstacle a veteran and family might face.
Coordinators are Mental Health First Aid trained instructors.  This program trains individuals working with veterans in the community on how to assist someone experiencing a mental health crisis.
Contact Information:

Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Maryland Commitment to Veterans
Director: Shauna Donahue
Office:  410-767-5934

STATE OF MARYLAND COORDINATORS Regional Resource Coordinators
Eastern Region - State of Maryland
Dina Karpf  Cell Phone 410-725-9996 Toll Free 1-877-770-8201
Western Region - State of Maryland
Melissa Barber Toll Free 1-877-779-4801 Email:  mbarber.mcv@gmail.com
Southern Region- State of Maryland
Rick Reed, Cell Phone 410-725-9993 Toll Free 1-877-4801 

To see a full list of Education benefits administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Click here.   

With the Post 9/11 GI bill you can:
  • Attend a college, university, trade school and/or training establishment
  • Become an apprentice, get tutorial assistance or take licensing and certification tests. Click here for information for employers and sponsors
  • Get benefits for up to 36 months
  • Use your benefits anytime within 15 years of your last 90 day period of active duty
  • Tuition and fees are paid directly to the school
  • You may also qualify for a monthly housing allowance; a books and supplies stipend; a one-time rural benefit payment
  • Active service members may be eligible to transfer your Post-9/11 GI bill education benefit to your spouse or one of your dependent children.  Transferring the benefits generally involves making a new 4 year commitment to service.
The Fry Scholarship provides surviving children and un-re-married spouse's scholarships for members who died in the line of duty after September, 2001. 

Maryland Higher Education Commission , Trish Gordon-McGown, Ass. Director, Veterans Affairs  
Office: 410-767-3098   Cell: 443-926-6766 
Toll free: 800-332.0270   Email: trish.mccown@maryland.gov

National Association of State Approving Agencies, Inc.
for Veterans Education & Training
NASAA-Vetseducation.com     Office:  217-782-7838

Maryland's Legal Aid's Joining Forces project is a free, statewide legal telephone hotline specifically for low-income individuals who have served in any branch of the military.   Callers receive direct and immediate access to legal assistance and brief advice on a wide range of civil legal issues.   The hotline will provide assistance with a number of civil legal issues, including but not limited to: consumer rights, family law, government benefits, housing, and veteran's benefits.
Call 443-683-4040 Tuesday, 3-7 pm and Thursday, 9:30-1:30.
Hotline hours may change, check www.mdlab.org for up to date information.  
Maryland Legal Aid, Director of Advocacy for Training & Pro Bono
Office: 410-951-7813 Toll free 800-999-8904  Email:  apetkovsek@mdlab.org

Ebenefits is a joint Va/DoD web portal that provides resources and self-service capabilities to Veterans, Service members and their families to research, access and manage their VA and military benefits and personal information.

The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online , or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.  Support for deaf and hard of hearing individuals is available.  Click here for more information.
Homeless Veterans Services
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a number of services to homeless veterans.  The Department provides opportunities to return to employment, safe housing, and health care and mental health services.  In addition the U.S. VA operates a 24/7 hotline for homeless veterans or those concerned about a homeless veteran to call for support. The U.S. VA National Homeless Call Center provider free, 24/7 access to trained counselors for local resources and assistance for homeless veterans and for individuals at risk of homelessness. To speak with a counselor call 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838). 

There are many services listed on the Maryland veterans homepage.  Here are just a few links:
 By Authority of Friends for Geraldine Valentino-Smith, Elizabeth Ryan, Treasurer