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Carroll County veterans program receives award from statewide group; commissioner appointed to board

From left, Christine Kay, director of Citizen Services; Gina Valentine, supervisor of Aging and Disabilities; and Celene Steckel, bureau chief of Aging and Disabilities, accept the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance County Innovation Award on behalf of Carroll County.
From left, Christine Kay, director of Citizen Services; Gina Valentine, supervisor of Aging and Disabilities; and Celene Steckel, bureau chief of Aging and Disabilities, accept the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance County Innovation Award on behalf of Carroll County. (Carroll County Government)

Carroll County’s service to veterans earned recognition from the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) at its winter conference last week.

Carroll County’s Veterans Services Program (VSP) received the 2019 Academy for Excellence in Local Governance County Innovation Award, the county announced. County staff accepted the award at a ceremony in Cambridge.

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“The County Innovation Award was established to recognize superb and leading-edge county programs that improve overall quality of life and service delivery for a county’s residents,” a county news release reads.

The VSP program started in October 2013 when the county commissioners identified veterans as a priority population with complex needs and challenges, according to the release. The program, assisted by public and private funding, served more than 800 veterans and recouped over 19 million dollars in veterans benefits, the release states.

Commissioner Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, applauded those that work in county government for its commitment to veterans.

“I’m really proud to say we resource what we prioritize,” Rothstein said at Thursday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting.

Rothstein noted the county has three veterans support officers and provides free transportation for veterans to medical facilities.

Carroll County Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, speaks at a commissioners meeting July 11, 2019.
Carroll County Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, speaks at a commissioners meeting July 11, 2019. (Carroll County Times)

“Carroll County is considered a model program for the state,” Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, said in the release. “We are honored to receive this recognition and celebrate the county’s success in assisting the men and women who served our country.”

Wantz was also in the spotlight at MACo. He was installed as a board member on the 2020 MACo Board of Directors on Dec. 5 at the winter conference inaugural banquet, according to a county news release.

Members were elected by the assembled membership at the banquet to serve in MACo’s top leadership positions, which includes elected officials and representatives from the state’s 23 counties and Baltimore city, the release reads.

“I am proud to represent Carroll County on the MACo Board of Directors,” Wantz said in the release. “I look forward to continued efforts with my colleagues across the state as we work on the challenges ahead.”

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