Veterans Advisory Council discusses ideas of research guide for returning vets, better outreach

Veterans Advisory Council discusses ideas of research guide for returning vets, better outreach
The Veterans Advisory Council asked the Board of Carroll County Commissioners for direction in outreach efforts on March 7, 2019. (Courtesy photo)

The Veterans Advisory Council — created in 2014 to help Carroll County veterans transition to daily life, provide programs and resources — came to the county this week to ask for recommendations going forward.

Some ideas that came out of the group’s meeting with the Board of Carroll County Commissioners included creating a research guide for veterans coming back to the county, more outreach, and a possible newspaper column to talk veterans issues and advice.


“I'd like to thank you for support the last five years,” veterans council Chair Larry Burbank said. “It’s been a good program. It’s been good working with you.”

The veterans council has Veterans Service Officers who help veterans in the community with military discharges, benefits, submitting compensation and pension claims, denied claims and health care. It also helps veterans find jobs and avoid homelessness, and offers a veterans shuttle to get Carroll’s vets to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs-approved medical appointments.

Two of the five commissioners are non-voting members of the veterans council: Commissioners Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, and Richard Weaver, R-District 2.

“The work you're doing, you are — and we are as a county — a model for the state,” Rothstein said at the meeting Thursday, March 7.

Veterans guide, newspaper column

Rothstein, a former Fort Meade commander, said the research guide and more outreach would be great ideas; he also proposed that a veterans column be created in the Times.

“It could be bi-weekly, weekly, monthly,” Rothstein said, “so people know where to go. We’ve all discussed this is the biggest challenge for our veterans.

“There is sometimes too much information and they don't know where to go,” he said.

Weaver agreed.

And he said the amount of people attending the meetings and networking — from agencies like Citizens Services, to the Business and Employment Resource Center, to the Veterans Independence Project — is “phenomenal.”

Weaver particularly liked the idea of a resource guide for veterans exiting the military.

“It’s been a pet peeve of mine,” he said. “Some people in the military, they [exit] with all this thrown at them the last week there, or couple weeks. They have a hard time wrapping their head around insurance, buying a home ... they’ve been taken care of [in the military].

“But in Carroll County, we need a Carroll County package,” Weaver said. “I'd love to put one together.”

Continued outreach to young people

Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, recommended extending outreach to more young people.

He said there is the Celebrating America program and National History Day — but there could be more.


“You're exhausting yourselves with all the outreach you're doing,” he told the veterans council members, “but I'd kind of like you to focus there if you can for a program.”

And in addition to connecting with kids, the veterans council hopes to reach out to younger veterans, Burbank said.

According to Rothstein, the majority of veterans involved in veterans groups are between the ages of 60 and 90 — there’s room for younger generations to be involved.

Burbank hopes to introduce himself to a group of veterans at Carroll Community College.

“I don’t know what day it is at the community college where the veterans get together,” the veterans council chair said. “I'm going to try to get to that meeting and meet those young folks.”

To further connect with veterans of contemporary wars, Weaver said the veterans council should consider a theme for young people for its 2020 Veterans Forum.

“It would be nice to [get] some of the younger veterans, from Iraq maybe,” he said, “get some of these young people involved, too.”

More information on the Veterans Advisory Council and its programs can be found online, at

The entire 1 p.m. Board of Carroll County Commissioners meeting can be found on the Carroll County government website’s meeting portal and video archive, YouTube page, and on Comcast Channel 24.