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In Focus: T.A.P.S.

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As a community of military spouses, one of the most important things we can do is advocate for those who are unable to completely advocate for themselves due to circumstances. . 

We at SpouseBuzz continue to hear from our readers "What can I do to help?"  And we hear this, not only from the military community, but from civilians as well. 

When it comes to our Gold Star Families, we want to do right.  We have learned over the course of time, that one of the best things we can do, is listen.  To allow those who have lost an opportunity to share the life of the one that has been lost. 

Andi, had the foresight to invite Shelly Hall to the Spousebuzz live event in San Diego. 

Shelly, taught us so much in the very short conversation we had. Her candor, and strength were amazing. She is an inspiration to anyone who has had the blessing to hear her speak.

Shelly Hall is a volunteer for T.A.P.S., in the community outreach program, and she acts as a mentor.  Shelly Hall, Mother of 5,  lost her Husband 2nd LT Kelly Hall, in a training accident.   Shelly  spoke openly about her grieiving experience, and about how T.A.P.S. worked for her, and how she now mentors other spouses. 

Shelly has also been generous, and has joined us on SpouseBuzz Radio to talk about her experience, and her continued efforts to mentor to others.

Because as much as we long to help, and want to help, in the end there is a unique perspective that T.A.P.S. can provide that most of us cannot fulfill. We can however, support  those, that can offer experience.  Being able to offer and convey that hope, and feeling that only another Gold Star Survivor can understand. 

There is no substitute for experential understanding.

T.A.P.S. was founded by Mrs. Bonnie Carroll. 

Mrs. Carroll founded TAPS following the death of her husband, Brigadier General Tom Carroll, in an Army C-12 plane crash in 1992.  She is a trained Critical Incident Stress Debriefer, member of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and Chairman of the Military Committee of the American Association for Death Education and Counseling.  She has authored numerous articles on grief and trauma and appeared on CNN, FOX, NBC's the Today Show and other programs speaking about military loss.

T.A.P.S. offers a unique program of mentors, called companions that can help those who have suffered loss.

  • companioning is about honoring the spirit; it is not about focusing on the intellect.                
  • companioning is about curiosity; it is not about expertise.                
  • companioning is about learning from others; it is not about teaching them.                
  • companioning is about being present to another person's pain; it is not about taking away or relieving the pain.                
  • companioning is about discovering the gifts of sacred silence; it is not about filling every painful moment with talk.                
  • companioning is about listening with the heart; it is not about analyzing with the head.                
  • companioning is about bearing witness to the struggles of others; it is not about judging or directing those struggles.                
  • Companioning is about going to the wilderness of the soul with another human being; it is not about thinking you are responsible for finding the way out.

The T.A.P.S. website, also offers an oportunity to learn more about the program, from videos.You can watch those here, I would encourage you to do so.  Videos from T.A.P.S.I think one of the most profound ways T.A.P.s can help survivors, is through the youth programs.  They help those children who have lost a Parent, through  many programs.  One of those programs is called Good Grief Camp.  Shelly talked about the camp, and about what a blessing this camp has been to her family.  These children receive military members to help them in their grief.  Once again the T.A.P.S. website, is an excellent resource, and provides excellent video as well.  If you or a loved one, would benefit from T.A.P.S. please have them contact the organization.  There is also a 24 hour HOT-LINE number available to those, that are in need of support.Let us not forget those families that have made the ultimate sacrifice.  Let us never forget.Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Inc. (TAPS)National Headquarters 910 17th Street, NW Suite 800Washington, DC 20006General Info: info@taps.orgMain Telephone Number: 202-588-TAPS (8277) Business Offices: 202-457-8277

Hotline: 800-959-TAPS (8277)

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