By Pfc. Bailey Anne Jester, 1st BCT PAO, 1st Cav. Div.July 27, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas - Twenty Soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division spent time with children during the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Seminar at Meadows Elementary School, here, July 23 and 24.
Created in 1994 by Bonnie Carroll, the widow of Brig. Gen. Tom Carroll, TAPS is designed to support families of fallen warriors.
"I know what it's like to lose someone very dear to you, and feel as though no one is there to support you," said Anchorage, Alaska native Carroll. "TAPS helps survivors learn how to cope with their loss and to live a life that honors their loved ones."
TAPS provides ongoing emotional help, hope, and healing to all who are grieving the death of a loved one in military service to America, Carroll said, explaining the TAPS mission. It meets that mission by providing peer-based support, crisis care, casualty casework assistance, and grief and trauma resources.
TAPS has supported more than 300,000 surviving family members and friends since the organization's inception.
Activities for the children and their mentors varied according to their age group, but consisted of the same general idea. Activities included arts and crafts, games and "sharing" time, where the children shared how they feel about their situation.
"The children are great," said Houston native, Spc. Jonathon Long, an infantry Soldier assigned to 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div., who served as a mentor. "I am glad that I was able to help out the way I did, it was a very fun day."
TAPS Survivor Seminars, according to the TAPS homepage, "Provide an opportunity to join together with survivors for a powerful time of support, care and hope."
The seminar concluded with a balloon release, where hundreds of balloons were released in remembrance of their fallen, loved ones.
For more information on TAPS or to find the next outreach event, check out their website at http://www.taps.org/.