I first learned about TAPS a couple of years after my husband was killed in Iraq. I was desperately lost and simply needed support from someone who might understand the complexity of my grief. I had no idea my phone call would lead me to years of friendship-building, self-acceptance, and the desire to give back in the same capacity.
Having become a new mommy and widow within a year's time, I knew I'd need some help on my journey to come. TAPS first provided me with the assurance that I was not alone and followed up shortly with a beautiful mentor who walked with me through so many trying times. They also encouraged me to participate in activities such as widow's retreats and national conferences. Although I felt like I was only going through the motions at times, I could feel myself becoming an integral part of something that was so much bigger than myself; an ideal by which my late husband lived his life. The continual support from my TAPS family not only allowed me to understand my PTSD, but has motivated me to use my story to help others.
In recent years, TAPS has given me the opportunity to turn my challenges in to amazing changes. The empowerment I feel because of this is immeasurable. They have helped me tap into my natural talents by using my voice to sing The National Anthem at different events; I have also had the opportunity to share the inner most parts of my heart on their blog and in the magazine. What's more, I have found many other interests that have become therapeutic outlets for me because of what TAPS has provided. Their encouragement and support has helped me to become a better person, mother, and friend.
Aside from helping me, TAPS has been a huge part of my daughter's life by giving her opportunities to ask questions and share stories about her daddy. TAPS truly understands the delicacy of a child who has lost a parent to combat and/or the effects of war. Somehow, they are able to translate this loss into an incredible opportunity to learn and grow in the best possible ways. My daughter is happy and well-adjusted, and finds a great deal of comfort in knowing that all of her "TAPS friends" understand exactly what it's like to live a life without dad. If not for TAPS, she might feel alone in her thoughts and neither of us would have the hope we have today!
We are both so grateful that TAPS exists. We've learned so much about grief and how we can become the best living legacies for our fallen heroes. TAPS is our family! What I love best is knowing that even on days I feel an emotional setback, TAPS normalizes my anxiety, reminds me of my strengths, and encourages me keep going.
Amy & Emma Dozier, Surviving wife and daughter of SFC Jonathan K. Dozier KIA 1/09/2008 Iraq
First off..I LOVE this organization..and am new to it. My dad was shot and killed in the Navy when I was barely two years old and too young to form any concrete memories of him. I have a wonderful family who raised me well. Despite their efforts I spent my life in terror, always looking over my shoulder and fearing death in any form. I didn't trust people in general. When my mom would leave, even when I was just a tiny kid I would pray and wait anxiously for her return. About three years ago I was diagnosed with PTSD and was told it has been recurring since I was two years old..go figure. Despite the lack of memories I have always felt a connection with my father and a longing to know more about him. I thought I was strange because of it. Also, despite my fears of looking strange I decided to write a book about how it was growing up the way I did. It was just a couple years into the process that I discovered TAPS randomly through a new friend on Facebook. We connected over mutual loss (her husband was killed when her daughter was 13 months old and her daughter has always felt a powerful closeness to him). During our conversation she told me about the TAPS program and how she and her daughter have benefited so much from it.
I can't tell you how much that kind of support would have changed my life for the better had it been around when I a kid and grieving! I was actually able to talk to Bonnie Carroll who listened quietly to my story-to the point where I was afraid she might think I was completely off the mark and even a little crazy. Instead she validated what I had to say and said the feelings of terror and abandonment are common with surviving kids. She was kind and gracious and made me even more excited about getting involved with this amazing organization.
I've only been in contact with TAPS staff for about eight months, and I first spoke with Bonnie almost a year ago. I haven't met any of them in person but every single person I've interacted with has been amazing. I feel like I have a tight knit group of friends already and I haven't even met any face to face. My big vacation this year is out to DC for the National Seminar and I can't wait!
As someone who has felt alone, anxious and terrified almost my entire life, I can't begin to express how life changing this program is... I'm so excited to connect with peers next month and help give those kids validation so they won't have to live their lives in crippling fear. This is a program I plan to be involved with and support for the rest of my life!
I lost my dad in the military in 1969, when I was just a baby--and long before TAPS came to be. I've been volunteering with TAPS since 2012 because I know how isolating and painful it was for me growing up without such an organization. Being able to reach out and assist not just Gold Star children like me, but to their families, and to battle buddies, and active duty military and other volunteers, has given my own loss meaning. I used to dread Memorial Day weekend--now I plan on volunteering with TAPS that weekend and I can't wait to see my TAPS family. I love TAPS!
TAPS has helped our family. It has helped me to know I am not alone. In very story, every meeting, every seminar, every getaway, every email with my mentee, every magazine I find hope. I have met so many wonderful people that through their grief help one another with love and compassion. My daughter is still "best friends" with a gal that she met on "their" first good grief camp. They were facetiming last night for literally hours.
Another daughter has decided her career goals because of the love and compassion she received as a 14 year old at her first TAPS good grief camp just a few weeks after her daddy's death. My son continued to follow his military dreams because of the mentors he had his first and second good grief camps. Do we love TAPS? yes! has it made a lasting impact on our lives? Absolutely!
I can’t express how much the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) has meant to me and my family as we navigate our way through this new life – new journey.
David and I were married for 16 years. He obtained the rank of Colonel one month before he died. As a US Army Reservist, my husband deployed several times after 9/11. His last deployment was to the ‘Green Zone’ or International Zone in Iraq. I remember this tour being ‘the tour that was never supposed to happen’ as he wasn’t supposed to deploy again – at least for the near term. However, 12 days after landing back in the US (relocating from Germany), we were notified of David’s imminent departure.
David returned from his tour complaining of headaches – mild ones – during the months leading up to his diagnosis. It was during a visit to the ER that David’s doctor suggested a CT Scan – just to ‘rule things out’. We were told that David had two suspicious looking masses in his brain. A biopsy done at Emory University hospital on October 13, 2010 confirmed that David had brain cancer. He died 11 months later.
David’s passion was for his Soldiers. He wanted them to understand the value of being financially prepared for unexpected situations and to also ensure a solid plan for the future. He handled all the finances in our household ensuring financial stability – all in line with our grand retirement plans.
It’s been four years since David’s death and much of that time has been spent dealing with multiple ‘unexpected’ events. At EACH ONE of these events, I can count on TAPS to provide me with the support that I need to get through. TAPS has not only been the support mechanism that I need – guiding me forward instilling a strength in me that I never thought I had – it’s provided a forum for my children to reach out to. They know that they’re not alone in this – and THAT is so important as they grow. They now reach out to others in their time of need.
I am very grateful for TAPS dedication to those who have lost one so dear… who took such a significant spot in our lives that now leaves such a void. For the past 4 years TAPS has provided my family with outstanding service, guidance, support – and most of all – access to its quality staff!
The lost of my Marine husband brought me and my 4 children to TAPS in 2008. We have grown and healed immensely with the help of seminars, counseling and multiple resources throughout the years. I don't know how our lives would have gone had it not been for TAPS
TAPS is a wonderful organization. They have helped thousands and thousands of families and support thousands of children of fallen military at GOOD Grief Camps. I cannot convey how wonderful the staff is at TAPS and the volunteers are immensely generous with their time and support to provide not just peer support to widows but ensure that any and all programs are absolutely wonderful. I know that my family will never be alone, never be left behind if something happens to me as a soldier serving my country. There is nothing like this wonderful organization. If you can support TAPS in any way please do so !!!!
I very recently retired a USAF Colonel and commander, and have a deep sense of respect regarding the phenomenal peer-based emotional support TAPS provides surviving families in the most unfortunate of human circumstances. Since the founding of TAPS in 1994, the organizational outreach to grieving families remains a hallmark in providing deep, meaningful assistance through difficult periods for the surviving families of US military members. TAPS provides critical efforts of support through their personalized outreach, to care for, assist, and provide technical assistance to those experiencing the deaths of loved ones. They provide the highest quality of support through many established and networked programs, and resources across our country, all without charge. Additionally, their network of counselors, programs, peer support, and casework assistance remains unparalleled. My appreciation is genuine of Bonnie Carroll and her tragedy assistance experts in making huge differences taking care of those who need it most. TAPS remains a success in genuinely helping others in very difficult times of military related deaths, especially with young children who need their help most. My best regards to all in the TAPS organization who provide this support to the families of AMERICA's fallen heroes.
As a senior military officer (recently retired) and an admirer of TAPS for more than a decade, I cannot adequately praise this remarkable organization and its people -- from founder Bonnie Carroll and her devoted staff to those essential and marvelous volunteers. I have referred families to them and TAPS has always come through. They help all according to need, providing equity, empathy, and compassion in what is likely the nation's most competent and effective survivor support system. Were I to die, TAPS is where I would want members of my family to turn to.
This organization is terribly cliquish. Certain surviving family members are given preferential treatment, that is, same people are invited to special events, meet VIP's etc. I do not see the focus on "Survivors Helping Survivors Heal" as much as staff members and their friends get to go to exotic locales or meet VIPs. And trust me I know a lot about this organization since I have been one of their survivor members since 2012. Take heed if you read this review and do not donate your time or money to this organization.