Anyone interested in services available to veterans in Carroll County is invited to attend the first Provider Forum for Veterans Services on Friday, Jan. 26, but most especially Vietnam era veterans.

During a program beginning at 9 a.m. at Carroll Community College, AARP Maryland, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Defense, will be honoring those living veterans who served on active duty from Nov. 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975, with a presidential proclamation and a welcome home lapel pin. The dependent spouses of living Vietnam veterans are also eligible for the pinning.


“It’s available because it’s the 50th commemoration of the Vietnam War,” said Gina Valentine, aging and disabilities supervisor with the Carroll County Bureau of Aging and Disabilities, who helped organize the forum. “We were very pleased to have it available on the event.”

The rest of the morning, until 12:30 p.m., will feature 32 nonprofits and agencies that in some way provide services to veterans, according to Leslie Wagner, project coordinator with the Carroll County Department of Citizens Services.

“They will be able to speak specifically, if you come in contact with a veteran, where you could send them, who you could call, how you could connect them,” she said.

Business Advocates for Veterans is an example of one of the service providers that will be present at the forum. A nonprofit dedicated to helping veterans find jobs, the group also promotes the hiring of veterans among business owners and names a veteran of the year, according to Director Todd Mitchell.

The Board of County Commissioners expressed support, but also concerns in regard the future of the former U.S. Army Reserve Center this week.

Habitat for Humanity of Carroll County will also be on hand to tell people about the nonprofit’s Critical Home Repair Program, which can help veterans or other people struggling with income to make important home repairs at a low cast, according to Director of Development Stephanie Averett.

“Critical home repairs are things like, if someone comes in from the hospital and needs a ramp, or if the porch is falling off,” Averett said. “While we are well-known for building houses, not as many people know about this service we can offer to our local homeowners, including our veterans.”

Senior home care agency Right at Home will attend to help spread the word that they can provide free services to veterans and their surviving spouses, according to spokeswoman Lauren Hickey.

“We have a contract with the Veteran Association, and are a part of the Veteran-Directed Home and Community Based Services,” she said. “We are able to help veterans age in place and receive standard activities of daily living, such as personal care services, transportation, light housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, etc.”

Other participating service providers include Access Carroll, the Alliance Veterans Housing Assistance Program, the Carroll County Health Department, the Wesley Freedom Family Resource Center and VFW Post 467, Westminster.

About 20 of the service providers will make five- to 10-minute presentations in Room K100 at the college, while others will have information available in the building lobby.

“I have been collecting agency information forms for all of the agencies that are registered,” Wagner said. “What those forms will do is they will give a phone number, a contact person and email address, a website, explain the main function of the agency and the services they provide and any eligibility requirements with regards to veteran clients.”

The forum is free and open to the public; however, those interested in attending must register by Friday, Jan. 19, by calling Wagner at 410-386-3818 or sending an email to lwagner@ccg.carr.org. Space is limited.

“We are going to have to cap it at 125 and as of [Wednesday] morning, I am at 94,” Wagner said.