2017 MACo Summer Conference attendees learned about the best practices and current programs for providing support services and assistance to Maryland’s over 400,000 military veterans and families during the “Serving Those Who Served Our Country ” panel. The panel consisted of four military veterans and one civilian who have dedicate themselves to servicing veterans.
Senator Stephen Waugh, Vice Chair of the Senate’s Veterans’ Caucus, discussed the on-going work through a veterans summit to help set a cohesive and comprehensive legislative agenda for addressing veterans needs. While many well-meaning bills are introduced, they are not always the most helpful for veterans. The summit is working to address that.
Delegate Pat Young, Vice Chair of the House Veterans’ Caucus, discussed the importance of targeting those transitioning from military services to college. From his former experience of working as Towson University’s Director of Veterans Services, Young noted that those transitioning can sometimes have difficulties separating from the bonds built over time in service and overcoming distrust of others outside that core. They also face struggles in knowing where to turn for assistance or that resources are even available.
Incoming Chair of the Harford County Commission on Veterans’ Affairs, Robert Brown, discussed how the county transformed its veterans’ commission to better serve its veterans. Brown noted that county would like to establish a veterans’ court and do more work inside schools. He stressed that veterans want to live in a place they feel respected and supported and the county is making sure exceed that expectation.
Dana S. Hendrickson, Director of Outreach and Advocacy for the Maryland Department of Veterans’ Affairs, presented on how the state’s initiatives to partner with counties to expand their offerings of veteran’s services. Hendrickson shared how her experience as the wife of a combat veteran helped to understand the difficulties faced by those transitioning. She presented on the diversity of experiences and needs veterans have and the importance of coordinating with other stakeholders (state, local, nonprofit) to have a collective impact of providing necessary services.
The session was moderated by Harford County Council Vice President James V. “Capt’n Jim” McMahan and held on Friday, August 18, 2017.