Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors

At the TAPS Kids Camp 2005
4/30/06 - TAPS stands for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. They welcome corporations, firms and individuals who support the families of service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Each year hundreds of American families face this tragedy – the death of a love one serving in the Armed Forces. Those families left behind include partents, siblings, young spouses and school age children. Very often these families must move away from their friends and support systems and rebuild a life that was once devoted to military service but is now focused on surviving the trauma of the loss.

Where do these families turn for support, the support they deserve when they have, in the words of Lincoln, “laid so costly a sacrifice on the altar of freedom?

TAPS is a one of a kind non-profit Veteran Service Organization which offers hope, healing, comfort and care to those families facing the death of a loved one each year. TAPS receives absolutely no government funding. But through the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, all families faced with a death of one serving in the Armed Forces receive information about TAPS and our military survivor programs.

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Inc
. (TAPS) was founded in the wake of a military tragedy -- the deaths of eight soldiers aboard an Army National Guard aircraft in November 1992. In the months and years following the surviving loved ones and families turned to various grief support organizations for comfort, but when they turned to each other for comfort and to share common fears and problems, they found strength and truly began to heal. They realized that the tragedy they shared, losing a loved one in the line of military duty, was far different from other types of losses. They shared pride in their spouses' service to America, and tremendous sadness at the ultimate sacrifice their loved ones made.

In talking with each other and people across the country, they realized that gaps existed in support once the official casualty case file was closed. And that this follow-up was best done by the private sector, by those who had the empathy and understanding to help. Much like the national organization founded over twenty years ago to support police survivors, TAPS offers peer support and assists survivors through a wide variety of programs.

Military and veterans' agencies provide exceptional services, but often those most in need of answers to complicated questions lack the energy and perseverance to track down information in an often complicated bureaucracy. TAPS has experienced, empathetic caseworkers who act as liaisons, assisting the family members in finding solutions to problems. Working hand in hand with the appropriate federal, state and private agencies, they have been successful in helping find solutions to problems that arise long after the official file has been closed.

This special gathering of military survivor families from across the country “remembers the love, celebrates the life, and shares the journey.”

A special tribute for donors and corporate sponsors is being organized for a number of cities across the country, including New York City. If you are interested in helping or participating in this noble cause, or would like more information, please contact TAPS at 202-588-8277 or 800-959-TAPS, send an e-mail to info@taps.org, or visit www.taps.org.