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Post 18 Veterans Day ceremony talks serving and saving vets

CENTREVILLE — Members of the Centreville community packed into the upstairs assembly room at American Legion, Jeff Davis Post 18, Friday, Nov. 11, to celebrate Veteran’s Day. The event was moved from downtown Centreville to inside the Legion due to the very rainy tropical depression that was moving through our area that day.

A luncheon had been prepared for all who attended, which was later served by senior members of the local American Heritage Girls Unit 0414 of Centreville, who have for years have worked closely with the Legion. Also attending, the Queen Anne’s County High School band under direction of longtime band director Eric Wright. The band performed numerous patriotic instrumental musical numbers, including a medley saluting all branches of the armed forces. Those in attendance applauded the band enthusiastically.

The program began and ended with prayers presented by Legion Chaplain Mike Palevich. U.S. Air Force veteran and current Centreville Town Council member Eric Johnson, Jr., a graduate of Queen Anne’s County High and Washington College where he served as student body president for two-years. From there, Johnson would attend Texas A&M University and later join the U.S. Air Force, serving in Afghanistan.

Johnson noted in the past year, it was reported that the number of veterans here in Queen Anne’s County is so high — representing 8.9% of the community, while the percentage for Maryland is 7.7%, and the national number is 7.1%. “[It is apparent] veterans want to live here, to raise their children here, and retire here,” Johnson said. “Why is that? It might have something to do with the value that this community places on service...The high percentage of veterans (here) is no accident.”

Johnson added that since January of this year, a small group known as the Queen Anne’s County Veteran and Military Support Alliance (VAMSA) adopted a simple but challenging mission, “Our objective is to provide a one stop shop of resources to veterans, military service members, and their families, including our often overlooked angels here on earth, wounded veteran caregivers. And most importantly, assistance with navigating complex governmental and non-governmental systems. Our veterans and their families deserve nothing less.”

He concluded, “I could not be more grateful to live in a community that not only cares about its military service members, but that it is willing to take ‘thank you for your service’ to the next level of excellence. This matters!”

Johnson was followed by Post Commander Joe Leilich. Leilich spoke about those veterans who are suffering from PTSD. He was straight forward with the alarming numbers of veterans who are taking their own lives; often because there are so many who are not being provided help. “Approximately 22 veterans die by suicide every day.” Leilich shared harrowing statistics, “14 of those 22 veterans are not receiving any care from the Veterans Health Administration. Veterans are twice as likely as civilians to die by suicide. Veterans make up more than 14 percent of all suicides.”

Leilich said, “I want to tell you how you can save the life of a veteran.” He listed the signs of someone that may be going down the road to suicide. “If you see someone exhibiting these symptoms,” Leilich said, “Get them help immediately — feeling hopeless, trouble sleeping, feeling anxious or agitated, feeling there is no reason to live, feeling rage or anger, engaging in risky activities without thinking of the consequences, increasing alcohol or drug misuse. and withdrawing from family and friends.”

Leilich added, “Veterans suicide prevention is everyone’s business. Sometimes the most important thing you can do is be there. One way to prevent suicide is to increase social connectedness. Educate yourself on a few simple things you can do that may save the life of a veteran who laid everything on the line so you could have the life you live today.”

The final portion of the ceremony included the reading of names of Post 18 members who passed away in the last 12 months: Mark W. Benney, Benjamin H. Cohey, Paul “Bo” Callahan, William H’ Downes, C.R. “Dickie” Davidson, Thomas E. “Blue” Nelson, Jr., Carroll Irving Pinder, Sr., Louis J. Palmatary, John L. Perkins, Charles T. Simmons, John C. Walker, Jr., Nicholas I. Wood, Anthony F. Zaukus, Jr. and Gerald P. Walls.

In many parts of our beloved state, you’ll hear “Watch for deer,” as a farewell greeting. It’s that time of year — deer hunting season is underway, and the deer are moving around because of it. Be very aware of deer crossing roads and coming out of wooded areas quickly to avoid hitting them with your vehicle, especially at night.

Maryland’s version of goodbye — ‘Watch for deer’

CASA of the Mid-Shore gives thanks for volunteers

CENTREVILLE — CASA of the Mid-Shore, a private, nonprofit organization, advocates for children under the protection of the Talbot, Dorchester, Queen Anne’s or Kent Circuit Courts because of abuse, neglect, or abandonment to ensure the children’s right to thrive in safe, permanent homes. Court Appointed Special Advocates are officers of the court who make assessments and recommendations to judges regarding the best interest of their appointed children.

A CASA volunteer’s role is unique. As a caring and consistent adult, CASA volunteers attempt to identify the specific needs of each child, advocate for service provision to meet those needs, and assist in seeking a permanent resolution for each child’s life as quickly and safely as possible. Most importantly, the CASA gets to know the child and frequently becomes one of the most consistent adults in the child’s life.

CASAs provide a sense of hope for a better tomorrow. This is especially poignant during the holiday season, when all children need to know that someone cares and is looking out for them. Studies support the fact that children and youth with CASA volunteers have higher levels of hope than foster children who do not have CASA in their lives. Greater hope can lead to children being more likely to succeed in school, having greater self-control, increased optimism, and a healthier sense of well-being.

For many children, the holidays are a time for building happy memories with family. However, it can be a very difficult time of year for children who have been removed from their homes and placed in foster care. Instead of enjoying the magic of the season, these children may be adjusting to new foster homes and transitioning to new schools. That can be a heavy burden for a child to carry alone, especially during the holidays. CASA volunteers help to take some of the weight off by being present for the children. CASA volunteers demonstrate compassion, courage and hopefulness.

“One CASA volunteer making a positive difference by speaking up for one child is our proverbial North Star, providing an unwavering, hopeful light,” said Robin Davenport, CASA’s executive director. “It guides us in the certainty that a better future is a real possibility for each child we serve. As we approach the end of another challenging year, everyone at CASA of the Mid-Shore is filled with gratitude for our volunteers who give so much time and compassion in their commitment to help our communities’ most vulnerable children.”

CASA of the Mid-Shore is currently accepting applications from adults in Queen Anne’s and nearby counties who are interested in becoming CASA volunteers. CASA volunteers come from all walks of life, varied experiences and professions, and are at least 21 years of age.

After completing the application and screening process, individuals participate in pre-service training before being sworn in as an officer of the court.

CASA welcomes volunteers from all cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds. To learn more about becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate, visit or email