By Debbie Gregory.
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS ) was founded in 1994. TAPS is a 24/7 resource for anyone who has suffered the loss of a military loved one. TAPS provides immediate and long-term emotional help, hope, and healing to all who are grieving the death of a loved one.
Bonnie Carroll is the founder and president of TAPS. Bonnie lost her husband in 1992. She channeled her grief into a support organization that provides hope and comfort to the surviving families of servicemembers.
TAPS provides support for both adult survivors and their children. Their “Good Grief Camps” lets children bond with their peers who have also lost a military parent. Each camper is paired with a mentor from the military. The Good Grief Camp is a place where children can share their experiences and grief.
Vice President Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, visited with children attending a Good Grief Camp at Palomar Mountain, Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California. Their son, Beau Biden, was deployed to Iraq as a member of the National Guard.
Vice President Biden told the children that it is important to share feelings with someone who has experienced a similar loss. The Good Grief Camps offer this camaraderie, as well as a supportive atmosphere to participate in activities that teach coping skills and establish and identify support systems. Children and teens meet others their own age to share that they are not alone in the grief of their loved one.
Since 1995, TAPS has welcomed all who are grieving the loss of a loved one. TAPS provides a full weekend of events for adults and children alike.
Carroll says, “Families who come to TAPS gain coping skills. They learn they’re not alone in their grief. They meet other families who truly understand what they’re going through, and they’re going to be there for them. It’s a family. This is America’s family for all those who have served and sacrificed.”