Captain John Rhoten to Receive TAPS’ 2018 Mentor of Year Award


By Debbie Gregory.

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) Military Mentor of the Year Award recognizes outstanding support for the children of America’s fallen heroes. This year, the award goes to Army Capt. John Rhoten, who will be recognized at the annual TAPS Honor Guard Luncheon on March 6th at the Army and Navy Club in Washington, D.C.

Rhoten, a native of Stafford, Virginia, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2002. Since that time he has deployed twice to both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rhoten started in the Infantry and is currently a Military Intelligence officer. He is married and has two daughters. Currently, he serves at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii with the 25th Infantry Division.

TAPS provides immediate and long-term support to surviving children in part through Good Grief Camps and Campouts, bringing together military surviving adults and children across the area, encouraging them to share with others in a peer-based support network while learning about grief and trauma from some of our nation’s experts.

“As a TAPS volunteer and military mentor, John has given selflessly to honor our nation’s fallen heroes by bringing comfort and support to their surviving families,” said Bonnie Carroll, president and founder of TAPS.

As a way to honor his fallen comrades and connect with the families grieving their loss, Rhoten began serving as a TAPS mentor in 2011. He now serves as a group leader at TAPS camps, serving as a role model for other military mentors.

Mark Capra, who lost his father, Air Force Tech. Sgt. Anthony Capra in 2008, was paired with Rhoten when Mark attended a Good Grief Camp. The pairing lasted from 2012 to 2014. Capra is now a college student who is serving as a TAPS mentor to other children who have lost a loved one in the military.

“Countless mentors who have bonded with their mentee and kept their relationship for a decade,” said  Carroll. Many travel great distances throughout the year to attend graduations, birthdays, special events with the child.”

We have been proud to work with this outstanding non-profit organization for more than seven years, and look forward to that continued relationship for many years to come.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Uber Demonstrates Good Corporate Citizenship through $1 Million Donation


By Debbie Gregory.

Uber has reached its goal of signing up 50,000 U.S. veterans as drivers. And to celebrate, the company is making a very generous donation to a number of veterans groups.

Uber is giving $1 million to a select few military organizations, including our friends at Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and Homes for our Troops. Also receiving funds will be the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. The funding comes directly from Uber, based on recommendations from the company’s UberMilitary Advisory Board, which includes former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

September, 2014 saw the launch of UberMilitary, giving former service members an opportunity to earn a flexible income. One of the goals of the campaign was to work with veterans and “empower them as entrepreneurs and small business owners.” Nearly half of the veterans who have signed up have started driving with the company, and Uber said it’s now focused on “getting more folks on the road.”

Emil Michael, senior vice president, spent stints in public service as a White House fellow and as an aide to Gates. After seeing how difficult it was for some veterans to find jobs upon leaving the armed forces, Michael said, he saw how Uber could fill a need.

“The thing that was missing was an income-earning opportunity that was extremely flexible,” Michael said. “When you come back, maybe you’re studying for your next degree, maybe you have medical issues.”

In addition to getting more veterans driving, the company is building a special savings program that will offer expanded and unique rewards to members of the UberMilitary community.

Uber also hopes to broaden its service to military passengers, and is possibly going to launch a program that will pay more to drivers will when they start or end a trip at a military base.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Helping Our Nation’s “Hidden Heroes”: Military Connection

Hidden Heroes

By Debbie Gregory.

Almost 6 million American parents, spouses, children, other family members and friends care for  military servicemembers and veterans who have been wounded, injured, or are ill. Many of these “hidden heroes” find that their role as a caregiver can impose a substantial physical, emotional and financial toll. Many caregivers have to set aside their own career and life goals to provide the needed care and, unlike professionals, they usually provide this care without compensation and often without sufficient knowledge of, or access to, available resources or a support network.

These caregivers are often overwhelmed, facing challenges that include isolation, poor health and emotional stress. The Military and Veteran Caregiver Peer Support Network (MVCN) offers peer-based support and services to connect caregivers with their peers for support and help accessing the resources of partner organizations. This support helps increase their wellness, knowledge and skills.

The Network is comprised of hundreds of partner organizations. Modeled after the nationally recognized, evidence-based programs of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) MVCN’s mission is to reduce caregiver isolation and increase their sense of connection, engagement and hopefulness.

The MVCN helps caregivers at all stages of their caring through three consistent highest-quality peer support programs and relevant up-to-date educational information and resources, including an online peer support community, community-based peer support groups, and peer mentors.

The MVCN also publishes a quarterly magazine called “We Care.” The magazine features caregiver stories, Caregiver Partners, KidsCare, , a Q&A called “Dear WeCare”,  and Caregiver News.

MVCN’s Community-Based Peer Support Groups are led by trained caregiver facilitators, with many local groups. They provide a secure, confidential place for caregivers to gather, to exchange experiences, empathy, education and encouragement.

These Community-Based Peer Support Groups offer an opportunity to share the issues, concerns and needs faced by caregivers.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Military Connection: Actor Gets It Right


By Debbie Gregory

The Last Ship is an American post-apocalyptic drama television series, based on a novel of the same name by William Brinkley. The show, airing on TNT, follows CDR Tom Chandler, commanding officer of the USS Nathan James. Chandler, played by former Grey’s Anatomy star Eric Dane, must take his crew on a search for a cure to a virus that has killed over 80 percent of the world’s population.

Dane, the son of a Navy Veteran who served in Vietnam, and died when Dane was just seven years old, is teaming up with Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) to bring to light the challenges mourning military families face.

TAPS is a nonprofit national Veterans service organization that offers peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, and casualty casework assistance and crisis intervention for military families.

TAPS was founded by Bonnie Carroll after the passing of her husband, Army Brig. Gen. Tom Carroll, in a C-12 plane crash in 1992.

Carroll praised Dane’s involvement. “TAPS has been very blessed to have wonderful support from many sectors of our society, citizens who have stepped forward to honor those who have selflessly served in the cause of freedom,” she said.

Recently, Dane visited Pentagon leaders and staffers to speak out about his support for TAPS. “TAPS offers help, hope, and healing to families of our fallen service men and women,” he said.

For Dane, working on The Last Ship has afforded him the chance to meet service men and women from all ranks and branches, something he is grateful for.

“The more I learn from you, the more impressed I am by your service to this great county, and the more determined that I am that all of us on the show get it right when it comes to portraying military [people] on television,” Dane said to current and former military soldiers and their families. He added, “My show is fictional. You’re the real heroes.”

To Carroll, Dane takes his role on The Last Ship as Navy Commander Tom Chandler very seriously. “He portrays the Navy in the absolute best light; it is a collaborative effort,” Carroll said. “He is one of us … an extraordinary individual and great citizen.”

You can watch The Last Ship this summer when it returns., is a proud media sponsor of TAPS. For more information visit

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit, the go to site.

Military Connection: Actor Gets It Right: By Debbie Gregory