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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Counseling, Mental Health, Military & Veterans Organizations, Veterans

Mission: TAPS is a national nonprofit organization offering comfort and care to anyone affected by the death of someone who served in the Armed Forced. We offer peer-based emotional support, crisis response and intervention, grief and trauma, casework assistance, long-term survivor wellness, and community and military education and outreach.

Results: Each year, TAPS hosts and participates in events across the country to provide support to all who are grieving the loss of a loved one who has died while in military service. Through our national and regional seminars and good grief camps, retreats, special presentations and fundraising events, TAPS is able to provide hope and healing. Our special presentations offer survivors, caregivers, military personnel, supporters and friends the opportunity to learn more about military grief and learn about the mission of TAPS.

Target demographics: We support the families of fallen military service members to heal and rebuild their lives.

Geographic areas served: The United States and around the world

Programs: TAPS is a national non-profit organization made up of, and providing services at no cost to, all those who have suffered the loss of a loved one in the Armed Forces. The heart of TAPS is its national military survivor peer support network, which brings together the families, friends and coworkers of those who are suffering a loss. TAPS, an official Veteran Service Organization, also offers bereavement counseling referral, provides case worker assistance that carries the work of the casualty assistance officers into the future, hosts the nation's only annual National Military Survivor Seminar and Kids Camp, publishes a quarterly journal mailed at no charge to survivors and care givers, maintains a comprehensive website, and offers a toll-free crisis and information line available 24 hours daily through 1-800-959-TAPS. TAPS offers total care and support for the military family experiencing a casualty. Please call on us to help!

Community Stories

119 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Bob Derga

Volunteer

Rating: 5

TAPS has been there always in our time of need after the death of my son CPL Dustin Derga USMC in May 2005. The unconditional, genuine love and care TAPS members provide grieving military families is a God send. in their time of need. They helped us so much to navigate through our own grief journey. TAPS addresses a need that no other organization can come close. All TAPS members have experienced a military death and know all so well the pain and issues military families face. It is through the volunteers that have gone before us that we are able to move forward in our own grief. We are honored to volunteer for TAPS and help pay forward this incredible gift to others.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I believe it was the VA that told me about TAPS when my husband was in his accident. I have received support and met many new friends who I can relate with and also learn from since I lost my husband. He was/is a Marine Colonel (retired) and was killed almost 4 years ago in a tragic airplane crash on his way to Quantico to participate in a graduation ceremony. He lived and breathed the fellowship of the Marine Corps. My father was a Marine in WWII, my former son in law is retired from his position with the Marines as a Master Seargent. His father flew helicopters in the Marines. I'm a true "soldier" in honoring all service members. I got a good preview of the real world of being in military service when I served in the professional role as a Military Family Life Counselor. My first introduction to TAPS was at the National Seminar in DC 2 years ago. I received so much love at this event that it carried me through until I had the opportunity to participate in a Women's Empowerment Retreat in the North Carolina blue ridge mountains a few months later. I feel blessed to be a mentor now with TAPS and I look forward to reuniting at the next event, whether it be in person, Zoom, or online. I have a new mentee and I look forward to sharing my experience, strength and hope of survival through the journey of grief.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

TAPS has been a wonderful source of support for my family for almost four years. Within a few weeks of my son's death, they were able to offer resources and reached out to offer personal contact. As a family we have utilized online resources as well as attending local & national seminars, retreats and our children love Good Grief Camp. It helps to have a community of people that understand and support one another. As surviving military siblings, my children have benefited greatly from the relationships they have formed with their military mentors. I feel honored to be able to pay it forward as a mentor and care group facilitator to support families like mine. TAPS and my own peer mentor helped me maintain hope during the lowest point in my life. It helped to know that I was not alone.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family joined TAPS after my older brother passed away in 2015. TAPS has been a very instrumental part of my healing process. I attended a local Care Group at their HQ in Arlington, VA. I don't think I could have survived that first year without them. From the beginning, I felt like it was ok to be myself. I learned so much from hearing others share their experiences as well. I now volunteer and host a Care Group in my hometown, Houston. TAPS is doing a really great work in our country, helping military families through some of toughest times anyone can imagine.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

TAPS helped save my family after my husband was killed in Afghanistan. It was the only place where all of his family was welcome, no matter the relationship. It was the place that welcomed me as his widow, all of his children (ours and his kids from his first marriage) and his ex-wife. Andbecause we could all come to grieve together, our bonds have all grown stronger. The six of us travel together, my boys and I moved to be closer, and our love for each other is profound in a special way because we all experienced the loss of the same man. TAPS gave us that. TAPS accepted our unusual family. TAPS made us feel like our experience was okay.

1 Janelle Jolley D.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Being a young military widow with four kids was incredibly difficult. The tragedy assistance program for survivors was a lifesaver in a hurricane of pain and survival. My kids and I received much needed help and support we couldn't find anywhere else. I found peace and comfort, knowledge and understanding to cope, kindness and compassion that no one else could give. I love going to any TAPS events to find others like me and help them, like so many helped me. There really isn't a greater organization I could have asked for to help with these specific needs. Thank you TAPS.

1 Charles R.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son Brandon was a Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy. When his life was taken away, our world shattered and we were lost. I found out about TAPS.org and they literally saved my life and the life of my wife. TAPS is our new family member and the caring and support that they give out is just so essential to the military survivor community. They have local, regional, and national seminars with workshops that help us so much in dealing with our grief. With TAPS, we can now honor the memory of our son, instead of dwelling on our grief. Thank you for the opportunity for me to share my story. God Bless!

1 Conni Ohler E.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been so impressed with TAPS since I found them after my son, a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq, suicided in 2013. I needed a military connection to be able to continue on my grief journey. They are so caring and kind. Their peer mentor program is top notch. My peer mentor and I are now friends after six years of being matched. Now I'm a peer mentor and the training I've received from TAPS is very thorough and well thought out. Their Women's Empowerment program has been such a help to sort out my feelings and thoughts, to determine a path for me spiritually and emotionally. I really appreciate the staff and volunteers that make TAPS a great organization.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

TAPS has not only saved my life and I've been blessed to witness so many others have said the same thing. Supporting and recognizing the loss of those who served and died for our freedom seek community at TAPS.

1

Advisor

Rating: 5

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is the only non-profit organization that cares for everyone and anyone who is suffering from a military loved one who has died. The manner of their death is not relevant to the care they receive from TAPS. There is no limit on the number of survivors TAPS will accept into their care. Since 1994, when TAPS was founded, over 95,000 loved ones have come to TAPS for help. TAPS Staff are made up of military survivors who want to support others in their grief journey. TAPS welcomes all to its family as volunteers, military mentors, and more. They receive no government funds and 87-cents on every dollar is invested directly into programs for military survivors. The entire team is 100-percent focused on helping military survivors on their grief journeys.

1 Laura B.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

TAPS is unlike many nonprofit organizations. Maybe one of a kind in that it’s mission is operated without federal funding and the bereavement support is advanced. Their services and support made a huge positive impact on my life, my children’s lives, their children and our community. Given from the heart.

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

TAPS is an integral part of my grief journey. Zero dollars comes from federal funding and the hope, connection and healing I’ve experienced is unlike anything else in the world. The impact of TAPS touches the lives of many people in the healthiest way possible.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

The only reason I'm giving 3 stars is for the few people who have been truly there for me at TAPS. I have dealt with rude women answering the phone when I have called. Workers pointing out that no matter what kind of non-profit they come up with , that it will never be anywhere as successful as Bonnie and TAPS. TAPS may have been started with Honorable intentions but , it has turned into a clique. There are events that are held that no one seems to know about until it's close to the date. If you're not one of the ones who has a degree , a blog , a vlog , a book , a counselor and such you're at the bottom of the totem pole.
It's a shame , I was Hoping that TAPS was going to be that one group that who truly cared for all , not just saying it and leaving it at that.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

TAPS became a lifeline for my family after my sister’s fiancé was killed in Iraq. Not being from a military family, we were at a loss on how to help her through her grief journey. Through TAPS, she began to meet other survivors going through the same loss and grief and who able to embrace and support her in a way we could not. TAPS assists all who has lost a loved one serving in the Armed Forces, regardless of cause of death or relationship to the fallen hero. Our family was welcomed at TAPS events and treated with compassion and love.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

TAPS is an amazing organization! In my experience, working with children that are grieving over the loss of a loved one that was serving in the US Armed Forces, TAPS does a great job of providing support and putting these families in touch with others going through a similar loss. The power of putting a grieving child in a room with other children dealing with a similar loss, and having that group go through grief work exercises, cannot be overstated. It truly is the magic of TAPS.... and that's why TAPS is such an amazing organization!!

1 Lanna Marie C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

TAPS is such a wonderful organization. They have given me experiences I never thought I'd ever experience in my life, like the summer I went to the Grand Tetons in Wyoming! It is unfortunate that we all have met due to our tragic losses, however, I couldn't imagine my life without these amazing people I have met on my grief journey. I was widowed at 24 and it gave me great comfort in knowing I was not alone, and no matter what, I was always accepted instantly at any event that I went to with TAPS.

Pablo M.1

Donor

Rating: 5

Julian Hard Cider and I have not only enjoyed each and every experience of our fundraising partnership with TAPS, but also look forward to making an even greater positive impact for the survivors with Diana and her team in 2018.

Thank you so much for including us in your family.

Paul Thomas
President / Founder
Julian Hard Cider

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I honest don't know who gets more out of it, me or the kiddos. The safe place TAPS creates for these children, with people like them , is beyond parallel. Knowing that TAPS is there for my family,should anything ever happen to me, makes it a little easier to do my job for this country everyday.

Donna McDonnell C.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

TAPS helps military families who have had a family member die. My husband and I met a widow of one serviceman while we were at the Grand Canyon. TAPS had paid for her to go to a retreat in AZ, so she headed to the Grand Canyon while she was in the area. She was part of our jeep tour. At one point she went and sat on a ledge and just stayed there for about a 1/2 hour. No one in our group cared that we were 'off schedule', as we all knew she was reconnecting with her husband. She told us at the time that this was the closest she had felt to her husband since he died. Upon my return home, I looked into TAPS. I am very happy to know that all monetary donations go to the families and their needs. Not only do I support the troops, through TAPS I can also support their loved ones, if/when needed.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

TAPS has changed my life for the better more than I can say! I found TAPS after nearly 40 years of dealing with the loss of my father, LTJG Burr Johnson III. I was only 2 years old when he was killed and back then childhood grief wasn’t addressed. I was diagnosed with life long PTSD while in my 30s. My first event was Nationals in 2016. I went to volunteer and left with so much more. The peer based support, the programs, the very heart of this program are beautiful and have opened me up to a level of healing and happiness I didn’t know existed. My closest friends are TAPS people. I have since become a Peer Mentor, I was part of the TAPS Cape Cod Ragnar team, I returned to Nationals in 2017 and will attend every year from now on. My brother who was an infant when our dad was killed, will be attending his first event this year and is now facing his own grief. He saw how TAPS helped me and decided to check it out. We as military survivors NEED this organization. I am a better and happier person because of it.

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am so thankful for TAPS being there not only for me but for my family as well. They did not give up on us when we had given up hope. Knowing that your not the only one is extremely comforting especially after a loss. THANK YOU TAPS for all that you do.

Client Served

Rating: 5

TAPS reached out to me after my son was killed in Afghanistan. The resources they provide are extensive and of the highest quality. The organization reaches out and tailors its assistance to all groups affected by the death of a service member - parents, spouses, siblings, and children. Each group is distinct and has differing needs and issues. It is easy to find a group tailored to your individual needs. I have attended a seminar, a retreat, and participate in online chats and discussions.

TAPS was/is the only group providing Men's only resources. The Men's Retreat I attended was superb. Sorry Ladies, but when you are present in a meeting, you do all the talking and steer the discussion into topics not of interest to Men. The Men only environment is necessary for our healing. Gold Star Men are hurting too.

I have made lasting friendships with other Gold Star Men through TAPS. I know I do not have to walk my grief journey alone. I have brothers to walk with me. TAPS is an invaluable resource for all survivors. Please support it if you can. Please use it if you need to.

Client Served

Rating: 5

In 2009 my fiance Josh Rath was KIA in Afghanistan. There I was without him, the love of my life, my future, my happiness, in a blink the entirety of my future, gone. As I tried to comprehend this loss, I was reminded that I was not married yet and therefore disenfranchised. Until TAPS. TAPS found me and called me letting me know my loss was significant, that I had mattered to this man, and that the pain I was suffering was valid. They were an organization that supported fiancées. Through their peer mentor program, seminars, and retreats, I found a new family - one that understood, one that walked with me, and one that helped me find my way. This organization gave me hope, and I support TAPS by volunteering and bringing awareness of the good that blossoms from their care.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our family was devastated when my husband, Sgt. Richard Stumpf, a 24 year old Gulf War Veteran and active duty Drill Instructor, died by suicide on October 31, 1994 at MCRD Parris Island, SC. To make things more tragic, we were expecting our first child within a couple of days. On the morning of his funeral, I was rushed to the hospital where I I gave birth to our son. The picture I chose to share is of our only "family portrait" taken during my pregnancy. When Rich died, we all felt alone, unsure and unable to comprehended how to proceed, and socially isolated due to how suicides were handled with active duty military during that era. Before the days of google, smart phones, social media, and technology, I had no idea where to go, but I knew I needed support. I knew I needed to connect to people like me who could understand; I knew I needed the support from my military families; I knew I couldn't do this alone. I knew what I needed , but just couldn't find it at the time. After years of searching, my path finally crossed with TAPS and I knew I was at home- with my people and fellow families of the fallen. TAPS is everything that I knew I needed back in 1994 and offers comprehensive services, resources, and programs to all families members, of all causes of death and is one of the leaders in the field of military suicide prevention. Families today do not have to go through this alone and have a place to honor the life which was lived, where they can "Remember The Love, Celebrate The Life, and Share The Journey ".

segts1956

Client Served

Rating: 5

After my son died, leaving a wife and three children, and my having been widowed just 3 months before my son's death, I was totally adrift. I had no idea where I belonged. I had no idea who could understand. Both my husband and son were Marines, very proud Marines. My daughter-in-law told me about TAPS and I registered, having no idea what to expect, but whatever I thought it might be, I underestimated them 5000%. I attended my first seminar 7 months after my son's death and the second this past St. Patrick's Day. I was raised in a fabulous, warm, loving family. Never in my life did I expect to walk into a conference full of strangers and feel as if I had found my home. The tools, the skills, the compassion, opportunities and love that has been shown to me is really beyond comprehension. But they know the secret, because they also all have walked the walk. This is what makes TAPS different. They understand what we're dealing with from the inside out and welcome us and our feelings with only love and never a second of judgment. For one weekend at a seminar, I feel as if I'm in heaven as well, and I never dreamed that would be possible after my dear losses. God bless Bonnie Carroll and her vision, her passion and her commitment. She and her staff are the balm for a pain I didn't think could be eased. Because of TAPS, I have new friends and am happier and healthier than I ever dreamed of. I can say no more but to leave you with this, which sums up what TAPS is able to elicit from all of my survivor friends.....

“What happens when people open their hearts?
They get better.”

— Haruki Murakami

Susan W.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My Navy Pilot husband died May 11, 2015. TAPS was there for me, immediately by my side, and has been there with me ever since. Just knowing I can call an 800 number after the company leaves, or its a Holiday, if I am alone with my thoughts, that I can reach out to someone who can Empathize is extremely comforting. Their programs for survivors tailored to their military loved one's Branch of service is particularly special. To be able to honor your loved one lost, but remember their life and service is very meaningful that you could not understand unless you've been there. Everyone at TAPS has been there. Empathy is a very specific language.

hufarez

Client Served

Rating: 5

A dear friend, and Casualty Assistance Officer, first told me of TAPS shortly after my husband was killed in 2004. Everything was so fresh, so raw, I just wasn't ready to reach out. TAPS continued to be a voice in the grief community that I ran with, and eventually, in 2014, we were in a location that my daughter and I were able to participate in the National Seminar and Good Grief Camp. After 10 years, we found our safe place. The staff and volunteers at TAPS always goes above and beyond to make sure that their Survivors are treated like guests. Radical hospitality is a phrase that comes to mind when I think of my peers there. My daughter has the opportunity, for 4 days, to be with other kids who GET it. She's not weird because she never met her dad. Nobody judges her when she doesn't have any "memories" to share of him in group activities. Other children don't question her credibility when she says that her father is dead. Her mentors have set remarkable examples of strength, courage, and selflessness. It is a beautiful partnership that Bonnie has cultivated with the different services and provides not only support for our children, but a leadership development opportunity for young service members like no other. Thank you TAPS for all you have provided for our family!

Marlene V.

Client Served

Rating: 5

TAPS has been absolutely amazing since my husband passed away. I can't say enough about this amazing organization. They have reached out to me, helped me financially, emotionally. They are incredible. Thank you Bonnie and thank you TAPS for all that you do for my daughter and I.

Terri J.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son Spc Jason Cooper died by suicide shortly after returning home from Iraq in 2005. Feeling deeply broken hearted and lost and also feeling that no one would understand my grief journey, I turned to TAPS. At TAPS, I have found support that has has given me hope and healing and a family that will always be with me. Bonnie Carroll has created an extraordinary support system for our surviving military families and I feel very blessed to be a part of that family.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

While serving as a Staff Sergeant in the Army I was asked to volunteer for TAPS. I was called upon to mentor a young boy whose father died while deployed to Iraq. Over the course of a weekend the boy and I bonded during one of the regional Good Grief Camps held by TAPS. Going into the event I never realized the impact it would have on me. Having lost a Soldier under my watch shortly before the event I was in need of grief support myself. The child I was mentoring and I had an amazing transformation to a new normal as we spent time grieving together and finding our new normal. TAPS transforms lives significantly for the better; and, provides the resources for our Gold Star families who have lost their hero to come together in a compassionate and safe environment to share their journey.

Kristen B.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

In 2012 I was four years out from losing my Father to PTSD from his service in the Navy. I was struggling with finding counseling and support that understood my unique loss. By chance someone introduced me to TAPS. Who then became to this day the Best Family I never wanted. The love, care, healing I am still recieving from TAPS has lead to amazing growth in my life!

adbeuge

Client Served

Rating: 5

When my husband CTRSN Jason Springer (US Navy) went missing from his ship the USS Kinkaid on March 5, 1997, the waiting was excruciating, though it paled in comparison to the intensity of the shock and grief that gripped me when they called off the search for him 24 hours later. Three days into my journey, agonizing over unanswered questions and crying constantly, I cried out to God and begged him to take it from me - I needed to breathe. Peace and quiet fell over the room and I quit crying for the first time. In a moment of shocked calm, I looked at my desk and saw a TAPS card. Without thinking, I picked up my phone and called the number. I could not have imagined that this phone call would lead to a great friendship which would ultimately ground me, giving me hope that I could survive the intense pain and remain standing. Nothing ever hurt this deeply and it felt never-ending, but Bonnie Carroll came alongside me and showed me in her deeply personal way that surviving was possible. She said Jason's name and didn't run from my tears. Together we told his story and over time I have continued to share him with others who have in turn shared with me their own stories. In doing this, Jason has remained as vibrant part of my life. In this amazing organization our journey with those we love does not end, it just takes a different shape. This is the beauty of TAPS, that together we remember those we love and allow them to remain partnered with us in a deeply meaningful way as we continue to share what made them real. Jason was an intense soul with a strong moral compass and a strong wit, which was at times self-deprecating. He had competitive spirit and you knew when you beat him that he made you work for it. Questions were always hanging from his lips - he was a deep philosophical thinker for 19 years-old. He was surprising, deep, and intensely romantic. Debate did not intimidate him, yet he was never disagreeable. He was an amazing and complex person and I have no doubt he would have grown me. How could I ever forget that he loved me with all his heart? This love was his greatest gift to me. How could I let that die too? TAPS is a place where I can say these things, let his life and death have ongoing meaning, and continue to grow in ways that would make him as proud of me as I am of him.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

On March 15, 2011, my oldest son Petty Officer Joshua Lipstein died by suicide after a long battle with anxiety, depression, and opioid dependency. Without the support we received from TAPS I'm not sure that my family would have made it through that terribly tragic time. We will always love and miss him, but we have learned to live our lives with his memory living in our hearts. TAPS helped us find meaning and purpose as we searched for our new normal.

Client Served

Rating: 5

In July of 2001, I was coming home from a meeting about helping students succeed in the public school in which I worked. My husband had called to say there had been an accident. As I rounded the corner toward our home, I saw the military car in our driveway and knew that the unthinkable had happened. When I walked through the door the casualty officer told me that our son, Sgt Bryon Lane, had been killed in a Marine helicopter training accident. That was the beginning of my journey of grief. After the funeral as the casualty officers were leaving, they gave me a flyer about the non profit organization called Tragedy Assistance for Survivors. It took me a few days, but when I called, I spoke to a woman who just listened gently to my story and offered me support. She called often and invited me to go to a seminar for TAPS over the Memorial Day weekend. It was the best thing I ever did for myself. While there, I met more people who had lost a loved one serving our country and learned I am not alone. Since then I have kept in touch with many of those from across the country and they have become lifelong friends. I thank TAPS for helping me learn to live without my son while never forgetting him. TAPS is an amazing organization.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

TAPS has provided a place where I can talk about my late husband Paul, run in memory of him, have my children attend good grief camps with other children who have lost a parent in the military, and share this journey with others.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Six years ago my brother, Richard, a CPL in the Marines, died of brain cancer. Nothing prepared me for the death of my 29 year-old big brother. During that first month as our family let the reality of his loss sink in, TAPS was there with a phone call letting us know that we weren't alone. TAPS sent us a caring resource kit, filled with heartfelt thoughts and information about the organization which would become our second family. Since then my family has benefited from the seminars and the retreats we have attended and met many fellow survivors whom we call family. I know that every day there is a family who loses a loved one who is serving our country and that is why I donate to TAPS. I want to help TAPS help these families the way it helped mine.

Review from #MyGivingStory

3 Amy_268

Client Served

Rating: 5

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

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!


Tammy McCracken

Xiomara H.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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 !!!!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

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.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

1

Client Served

Rating: 1

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.

Comments ( 1 )

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bonnie 10/26/2017

Dear Survivor, I am sorry that you have had an experience that has left you dissatisfied with TAPS. We encourage you to call TAPS at 800-959-8277 to discuss your concerns. Kindly, TAPS

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Within days after I was notified by the US Navy of my sons death, KIA 9.22.2013; a package from TAPS arrived in the mail. I opened the package and a wealth of information was at my fingertips. From whom to call for assistance during my darkest hours of grief, to support groups, TAPS volunteeers and staff providing me what ever I needed help with;TAPS was there for me 24 hrs a day. I appreciate their calling to check on me to see how I was doing. I deeply thank TAPS for introducing me to other Gold Star Family members who understood what I was going thru. I am on a journey and am so blessed to have TAPS by my side.

1 Linda284

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hello! First let me start by saying that I'm a widow of a Marine who was not killed in duty but instead by a drunk driver. This happened in 1999. Since then I went back to school to get my Masters in counseling so that I could help other survivors. Currently I am a grief counselor and also the Director of Children's Bereavement Camps for Hospice of the Chesapeake. I've been involved with camp programs for children and adults for 13 years. By chance, I met Bonnie Carroll through a mutual colleague in April and she was so kind to invite me and my son to the National Survivor's Seminar in May. I was so touched because even though it's what I do for a living, I've never been to a bereavement camp or retreat as an attendee nor has my son.

From the moment I arrived I felt welcomed and loved by the entire TAPS staff. No matter how busy they were they made me feel like I was very special and the only one there. I immediately made friends at the seminar with all the other wonderful survivors. I was blown away at the quality of the seminar and the experience of the speakers and seminar leaders. It was far more than I would have ever expected.

When I ran my camp this summer, I took this experience and shared it with my volunteer staff and camp families. I took the "spirit" of TAPS and shared it with my camp program because it felt it was so amazing! And I remember how they made me feel as a newcomer.

In my opinion this is a top notch organization with people filled with passion for what they do. I'm sad that I never found it sooner but I'm so thankful that I found it when I did.

Client Served

Rating: 5

TAPS has given me unconditional support. I hope to become a mentor, one day. This is a much needed service for widows and orphaned children of our services members.

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was warmly welcomed into the TAPS family. No one shut me out because my loss was related to the Vietnam conflict. I appreciate that more than words can expess. I think it is extremely important for young children of fallen service members to be supported and encouraged by the country. They should feel their lossed love one is a hero. TAPS is providing an outstanding and supportive vehicle for healing and support. This was missing for so long. I am so thankful for and proud of TAPS! A+ Thank you!

4 Ashley101

Client Served

Rating: 5

On May 19 2014 my fiance committed suicide. He was the love of my life..my world. My everything. .until he got kicked out of the army. He was diagnosed with ptsd and sleep apnea. ..The army chapter him out for being overweight. He felt like such a failure..nothing was the same he seemed he didn't even have a purpose anymore...I tried so hard to comfort him and help him but the depression got worse and worse as the months went on...of course at first he kept saying I'm a soldier I can handle anything so he didn't want help...then he couldn't get a job we lost our house and had to move in with our mom. He then realized he had a problem and tried to get help but it was like a different story each day. No one believed him...He laid on the couch for 4 months with me and our kids tried to pull life together for him try to make it easier...He became so angry inside himself he would have out Burts on me and our children. He stated to lay his hands on me and not remember he was doing it...and again..no one believed him he couldn't remember what he was doing. It was so terrible for us the fighting yelling and physical abuse.. He finally just said f it and he moved two states away to get work..which he did not find. I talked to him when when he was down all the time actually when he moved. .I loved him so much it hurts sometimes I can't even breathe when I think about him.... so needless to say may 19th marked his one year out of the army , and he took his life on the same day and time he singed out...I don't understand this I just don't. I feel like I didn't fight hard enough for him or didn't show him how much I loved him. I just wanted to share this because I pray each and every day for our vets. And I am raising ptsd and suicide awareness where where live..I wish I knew and understood ptsd before I'm probably a year late but I pray I can help others some how some way... rip. Specialist Staton. So anyways I am writing this review because if it was not for TAPS. I didn't think I could move on after losing Adam. They helped me get involved in counseling and seminars and group therapy
.they have called me and made me feel loved and touched my heart In so many ways to even count. TAPS IS amazing and truly deserves this. Every time I hear about TAPS I get excited and every phone call and email I received from them left me with a small piece of warmth in my heart again. Thank you TAPS you saved my life and my children.

Kenzie D.

Client Served

Rating: 5

In November 2009, I lost my brother to suicide, it's been one heck of a long ride to come to the point that i understand that i am not the only one going thru this. When our Castilty officer contacted my mom saying that there was a group that is helping families deal with great losses, we insteally found out more information. My first TAPS event was in October 2010- with not knowing what I was getting myself into, i connected with so many people who knew just what I was going thru and I also knew that I wasn't the only one dealing with this. TAPS has been so amazing over years that, now it's my turn that I give back to them. Not only by writing this review but letting others know that there are people out in the World that are going thru the same thing. Thank you TAPS for everything!

1 Breanna M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

In November of 2011, my dad was killed in Afghanistan. I felt so lost and no one understood what I was going through. When my mom told us about TAPS and that we were going to the National seminar, I was really nervous. On my first day I met my mentor who would change my life for the better. I started making friends and learning that I was not alone in my situation. I currently went on a TAPS retreat for children of the fallen. I learned so much and feel so blessed for the people I met and the things I got to do. I was able to dig a little deeper into my grief and find some peace. I'm still working on it but I know if I were to run into any troubles, I have my TAPS family to help me out.

Chloe M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

TAPS has changed my life incredibly! My dad was KIA in Afghanistan 2011. I was living in a very small town at the time when my Dad died. My elementary school my brother and I were going to at the time had only 500 kids in the school, and we were the only ones who had lost our dad in the military. I only had my family until we found taps six months after my father was killed. When I got there I was really nervous, but it only took a few minutes at the camp to really feel welcomed! I wasn't the only one anymore! I had people to tell stories about my dad to and remember him without someone feeling uncomfortable about me talking about my dad. I could create bonds with the other kids and even the mentors. Every time I hear about TAPS I get so excited and brag about it! Its like every year it can't come sooner!!

Leanne7

Client Served

Rating: 5

TAPS has been a lifeline for me and my children. My husband was KIA in Afghanistan 2011 and I was feeling so lost. I called the Taps hotline and immediately was connected with someone I could talk to. Within a few days, I received a care package. AT our 6 month mark, we went to our first Good Grief Camp and Seminar. It was amazing. I met the most incredible, caring, loving and supportive people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I learned that the way I grieved may not be the way others grieved and it was okay. A couple months later I was able to attend a Widow's retreat. It was the best thing I could have done for myself. It was something I never dreamed I needed until I was there. I don't know where my children and I would be without the love and support TAPS has provided us.

Karen281

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son was killed in 2008, while on active duty in the US Army. It was very difficult to deal with the loss and find the help we needed to understand how we would go on without him. TAPS has given my family and many other families a place to get assistance and feel accepted by people who know how you feel. This is a place where we can get help and help others. I can't say enough about Bonnie, all of her wonderful staff and volunteers.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Our country owes a great debt to those that serve to keep us safe. None pay a higher price than those family members that have lost a family member in our military services. TAPS is there for those families to lend support and guidance, comfort and care to those family members in their times of grief and help them to move forward. I have had the privilege and honor to work with many of their team members and volunteers when planning their events for their programs. It is always with professionalism and concern that every dollar is accounted for and every penny spent is done to make sure that they are receiving the ultimate experience for each of their family members, while adhering to strict cost constraints to make certain that the programs can continue and the success to the participants. The family members are the top priority and this never waivers. I see the commitment and dedication of their staff and know this isn't just a job for any of them - this is their life, their focus and their passion. Thanks to TAPS for all you do!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My younger brother was killed while serving our country in Iraq. I am from a large, close knit family of 2 very loving parents and 7 children. When we received the news that my brother had been killed in action we soon realized that the grief process can be so entirely different for even very close family. My parents had lost a son...six of us had lost a brother. Our children had lost a beloved uncle. We are a family with a strong believe that we will see and love and live with this brother again, after this life. But what about this life? How do we live without him? How do we help each other find that new normal? That is where T.A.P.S. comes into play. T.A.P.S. has programs for my parents, to interact with other parents that have lost a loved one to war. They have programs for siblings of fallen soldiers to interact with other siblings that are facing the same challenges. At a time when our family could have felt so alone, we were welcomed in to an even larger family of people that know what you are going through. Thanks T.A.P.S.!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Their reach has inspired many. They do not question who needs the help. They are there for all and if they do not have the service, they find it. What stands out is that most have been helped and in turn are helping others

Erin78

Client Served

Rating: 5

My dad died in Iraq in 2011 as a retired Navy Commander of 20 years. He was working as a contractor. TAPS helps me as I do not qualify for VA assistance as I am over 26. They provide specialized grief groups, 24 hour hotline care, fun retreats, and most of all I am connected to other survivors who have lost their loved ones in the military or in military-related work situations. This organize creates a life-long family to help us grieve the very specific loss we have experienced that the general public may not have gone through. I feel TAPS has changed my life. I am forever grateful to TAPS and the individual who directed me towards this organization.

Jennifer363

Client Served

Rating: 5

My children were dealing with the divorce of their dad and me in October of 2004 when he was KIA 8-31-2005 in Iraq. In less than a year we were having to deal with two life altering events. TAPS and their Peer Mentoring program saved me from a very dark place and very well may have saved my life. TAPS gave my children people to talk to and other kids for them to relate to. We didn't live near any military installations, and no one understood what a military death meant in our lives. TAPS is always a phone call away when we need someone. There aren't enough things I can say about TAPS to relay just how positive of an organization this is.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a military wife of 27 year. TAPS is a wonderful nonprofitorganization. They do so much for the military members that have lost a loved one. I was able to walk the first TAPS 5k run/walk at the Fargo marathon. Then the next morning I volunteered for helping with the marathon stops. I walked with Lance's picture on my back. It is an honor to volunteer for an awesome nonprofit oorganization.

Client Served

Rating: 5

These last few months have been some of the darkest of my life. My husband of 12 years and the father of my two young children lost his life. He was an Airman in the US Airforce Reserve. I had no idea how to accept this..cope with this or survive this. The T.A.P.S. organization reached out to me a and my children and made us feel like family. They have kept constant contact with us and provided us resources for the beginning of the healing process. Volunteers have called and emailed and even texted me. It was these selfless people who supported my family during those moments when everything got quiet and we faced the reality of this tragic loss. We are attending a suicide grief camp in October so we can understand that we are not alone in this journey. These are some of the most kind hearted...caring and consoling humans I have ever encountered. I don't know that we could have made it this far without their love and support. The world needs more organizations like this. I can't tell you how much it has meant to my family.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have known of TAPS through mailings and email since 2010 the year my brother was KIA. I read each magazine cover to cover and have been touched by the emails and cards received on special dates. This is something that you hear about in the news, things like "that" never happen to your family. Well I am hear to tell you that it does happen. It is not a group you want to be a part if, recognition you do not want. Having a group like TAPS keeping in touch lets you know that others are having the same struggles, feeling the pain that can hit without warning. I was able to attend the Survivor Seminar in Washington this past Memorial Day holiday. There was a lot of choices of seminars and activities. At first I was nervous, overwhelmed, felt it a "trip" I was taking and should not be enjoying. The trip was informative, educational, comforting, emotional and yes enjoyable too.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When my husband died in a training accident in 1997 I did not know where to turn. I had to leave my military family and moved back home. I was a fish out of water. I missed my husband horribly, I missed our friends, our military life. I ached for our future now changed forever. A military chaplain told me about TAPS. I was hesitant to call and ask for help. I was a military wife. I never asked for help. One night I knew I wasn't going to make it to the next morning. My grief was crushing. It was 2:00 a.m. and I picked up the phone. I called TAPS. On the other end of the phone was my lifeline. My new family. A soft and compassionate voice got me through to see the light of day. TAPS was my light in a very, very dark night.

3

Donor

Rating: 1

This organization use to have meaning but it has grown into another money hungry for profit company that hides under a 501(c)3. Just check out their financials and see where they are spending the public money on wasteful things like hundreds of thousands of dollars on a date base for members, there are better solution. After seeing their financials I would never give them another penny.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My youngest son passed away. His older siblings never got their Gold Star pins. TAPS went above and beyond doing the work on getting my son's siblings their pins. I also couldn't get the military to find some way of getting me counseling after losing my son. TAPS again stepped up to the plate and got the ball rolling. I am now receiving counseling. They call me every 4 to 6 weeks to check on me to see how I am doing. They email me and get me in touch with people who have been through what I am going through. They are also hosting a Gold Star Mothers retreat in Savannah Georgia this November in which I will be attending. Our expenses are paid for by generous donors. This gives us mothers some time of not only normalcy but a time to meet other women who have lost children and form a lifelong bond with others who understand our grief. I don't know what I would do without them. I know if I need someone they are there for me.