July 3, 2012
Maryland is offering a new mortgage program that gives discounts to military families and veterans. The "Maryland Homefront" loans, announced Tuesday, are part of the state's Maryland Mortgage Program. The loans — available through June of next year or until the $50 million reserved for them is used up — will come with an interest rate that's half a percent lower than the Maryland Mortgage Program's overall rate. That's a savings of about $840 a year on a $250,000 home, the state said.
May 9, 2012
In my household, we're in search of the new normal, whatever that is. The past year has been one of transition, upheaval, limbo … but that's coming to an end now, at least we hope so. Last spring, my husband's Marine Corps Reserve unit mobilized to deploy to Afghanistan. Between April and August, he was in and out of training, some in D.C., some in Quantico, nearly a month in California. Then in August, he left for seven months in Afghanistan, leaving me to solo parent our 3-year-old son. In late December, I went on maternity leave and had our second son at the end of the year.
December 24, 2011
Alerted via Facebook, connected by Skype, Joseph Vencill was able to "be" in the delivery room for the birth of his first child even though he was serving in Iraq at the time. Still, there's only so much you can do by satellite. "I'm not sure how much help I was," Vencill, 28, said of his remote role at the bedside of his wife, Jamie, during a five-hour labor that ended in the June 26 birth of their son, Kaiden. With the war over in Iraq, Vencill, a National Guardsman who lives in Bel Air, is among the thousands of troops who won't have to miss additional milestones, making it home in time for the holidays.
June 28, 2011
Outback Steakhouse presented a $1 million donation to Operation Homefront, a nonprofit organization providing emergency financial and other assistance to military families and wounded service members. The big-check ceremony took place in front of the Outback Steakhouse located in Ellicott City. That's a good local angle, but the better one is that Marylanders benefit from Operation Homefront which I first learned about from the Restrepo DVD.
July 22, 2007
Jim Nicholson's resignation last week after 2 1/2 years as secretary of veterans affairs was described as abrupt, but the wonder is that he lasted so long. A former real estate developer, Republican Party chairman and ambassador to the Vatican, Mr. Nicholson was overwhelmed by a hidebound bureaucracy unable to cope with the sheer size and complexity of its rapidly expanding client load. And he was no match for White House political bosses trying to hide the true cost of the Iraq war by shorting veterans' care.
June 14, 2007
When Navy reservist David Lindsey was called up to go to Iraq, his employer gave him extra vacation time and offered to pay the difference if his military salary was less than his civilian pay. While he was away, his bosses at Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative made sure that he routinely received care packages filled with soup and cans of coffee, which made him the envy of his unit. The company re-shuffled staff to temporarily fill his job during his absence, then promoted him soon after his return in 2005.