TAPS event helps families cope with loss of loved ones

24 Mar 2007 | Cpl. Brandon R. Holgersen

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors held a special one day program of comfort and support here March 24, which was attended by more than 75 people from all over the United States.

The Tragedy Assistance Program is a national non-profit veterans’ service organization dedicated to providing support to anyone who has lost a loved one serving in the armed forces.

“People need to transition from having their loved one to losing their loved one,” said Vivianne Wersel, an area committee member. “They need that transition and understanding the grief process that they are going though.”

The focus of the one day event for both adults and children was for them to meet others, from the region, who are going through the same ordeals and let them know that they are not alone.

Attendees also learned about grief and traumatic loss from the very best experts and developed an understanding of how they can best cope and find comfort.

One of the ways they learned how to find comfort was by sharing with others in peer based support groups about their loss.

“It was the first time for many to be able to vocalize their loss,” said Wersel. “We were able to share happy and good stories. There was a lot of laughter and remembering of good memories and honoring them.”

The one day event was not only for adults but it was also for children. Camp team leaders with TAPS put together activities for children of all ages to provide a place for them to learn about grief, share their feelings and express emotions to heal young hearts.

Through special activities called grief work the children were able to have fun while discovering how to cope with the what they are experiencing. One way they were taught to deal with pain was by creating a network of care to lean on as they moved forward.

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Inc., is a one of a kind non-profit Veteran Service Organization offering hope, healing, comfort and care to thousands of American armed forces families facing the death of a loved one each year. TAPS receives absolutely no government funding, but through the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, all families faced with a death of one serving in the armed forces receive information about TAPS and our military survivor programs.

“We all will be at a different part of this journey, but we need to transition and things like TAPS help,” said Wersel.