• FORT HOOD, Texas-Austin, 13, throws a football to Master Sgt. Patrick Markovich, the retention non-commissioned officer in-charge of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, during a Tragedy Assistance Program event on Fort Hood, Texas, July 22.

    FORT HOOD, Texas-Austin, 13, throws a football...

    FORT HOOD, Texas-Austin, 13, throws a football to Master Sgt. Patrick Markovich, the retention non-commissioned officer in-charge of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, during a Tragedy Assistance Program event on Fort Hood, Texas, July 22.

  • FORT HOOD, Texas-Staff Sgt. Brandon Rainey, a retention non-commissioned officer with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, talks to Candy  during a Tragedy Assistance Program event on Fort Hood, Texas, July 22.

    FORT HOOD, Texas-Staff Sgt. Brandon Rainey, a...

    FORT HOOD, Texas-Staff Sgt. Brandon Rainey, a retention non-commissioned officer with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, talks to Candy during a Tragedy Assistance Program event on Fort Hood, Texas, July 22.

FORT HOOD, TexasAca,!" Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and other units from throughout Fort Hood, acted as mentors and friends for children throughout the Central Texas area whoAca,!a,,cve lost loved ones serving in the military during a seminar hosted by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivor, here, July 23-24.

As the director of the Fort Hood TAPS Run and Remember Program, Marie Campbell, who lost her husband 14 years ago, said TAPS is beneficial to those whoAca,!a,,cve lost loved ones because it gives them a place to connect with others that have experienced a similar loss. For children, the program also allows them to meet mentors from the military and get a little bit of the connection back they lost when their loved one in the military died.

For Soldiers who participated, the event was an opportunity to give back to the military community that has given so much to them.

Aca,!A"You look at your own children and wonder what would happen if you were gone,Aca,!A? said Master Sgt. Patrick Markovich, the retention non-commissioned officer in-charge for 2nd BCT and a first-time TAPS volunteer. Aca,!A"You would hope that someone would volunteer and spend time with them.Aca,!A?

Aca,!A"This (program) gives them a chance to connect with others that are going through a similar loss,Aca,!A? said Campbell. Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs really bittersweet. We say weAca,!a,,cre so sorry you have to come here, but weAca,!a,,cre so glad you did.Aca,!a,,cAca,!A?

During the event the mentors were given time to talk and interact with the children in a safe environment. The children were given the chance to talk about their feelings and get to know a little bit more about their mentors and the military.

Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs a wonderful experience,Aca,!A? said Markovich. Aca,!A"Half the time youAca,!a,,cre almost in tears and the other half youAca,!a,,cre laughing with them.Aca,!A?

On day two of the event, children were taken on a field trip on post to spend more time with their mentors before attending a gala complete with a band, food, play areas and lots of military vehicles to look at.

Although two days isnAca,!a,,ct a long time, it was long enough to make a big difference in the lives of those who were there.

Aca,!A"I donAca,!a,,ct even know how to explain it,Aca,!A? said Markovich. Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs great. Hopefully it benefits the families as much as it benefited the Soldiers involved.Aca,!A?

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16