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VA Helps Maryland

In order to ensure that Charlotte Hall in Maryland remains a comfortable and safe residence for veterans the Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded more than $3.7 million to expand the emergency generator at the state-run facility. “Our federal-state partnership helps provide quality housing in a caring community for Maryland Veterans who have served their country,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. VA’s grant covers 65 percent of the project’s cost, which carries a $5.8 million price tag. Last year, VA spent nearly $1.9 billion in Maryland to serve the state’s 465,000 veterans. VA operates two major medical centers in Baltimore and one in Perry Point, with outpatient clinics and veteran centers across the state and three national cemeteries.

Star Card Benefits

At times, Main Exchange shoppers an estimated 50 percent of them military retirees and their families may give little thought as to which credit card to use at checkout. Use of bank-issued cards at the exchange costs the military community millions. Last year, processing expenses for bank-issued cards used at Army & Air Force Exchange Service facilities were up 12 percent, zapping more than $89 million from the exchange. This reduced funds annually contributed by the exchange to military services for Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs. One way to help reduce these exchange costs is to use a Military Star Card. Unlike bank cards, profits generated from use of Military Star Cards are shared with military communities through contributions to quality-of-life funds. The Military Star Card is accepted at all Army and Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Exchange activities, as well as the Exchange Catalog and the Exchange Online store at

Help for Smokers

The Department of Defense (DOD) encourages its military personnel, both active duty and retired and their families, to quit using tobacco. DOD’s tobacco cessation campaign website ( provides comprehensive tools and support needed to assist individuals who are ready to quit smoking. One of the featured tools on the website is Train2Quit, a support system that uses interactive components such as self-assessment questionnaires, quizzes and other activities. Individuals may create a customizable quit plan with a calendar to track progress and learn how to beat cravings, overcome weight gain and cope with the effects of nicotine withdrawal. Personal quit coaches are available on the website 24/7 to answer questions about quitting smoking and how to stay tobacco-free. A savings calculator provides motivation by showing how much extra cash is accumulated over time.

The Retiree Activities Office is open from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday. Visit our office at Colorado and D Street, call us at 301-981-2726, or email us at Calling the office prior to visiting is recommended to ensure someone is on duty. The RAO also has a website at, click on "Retirees" on the right side of the page. There you will find a wealth of information that might be of interest to you. Copies of "Retiree Activities Corner" articles are online as well. Go to the retirees webpage and find information under the heading "Newspaper Column."