In the spring of 2000, four years after her husband Sgt. Dee “Soup” Campbell, was killed with his 18 Air Force comrades in a terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia, Marie Campbell attended a TAPS retreat where to meet a small group of her peers—military widows.
Sitting in the airport, Marie began to chat with other widows, and casually she mentioned that she had brought running clothes and hoped to have the opportunity to get to run during the retreat. The widow next to Marie, Lori Hunter, also mentioned her love of running, and had a suggestion. Lori was trying to get a team together in the Marine Corps Marathon as fundraiser for TAPS, and asked if Marie might interested. Marie's first question was how long was a marathon? When she heard 26.2 miles, she immediately said no, running was a hobby not a commitment.
But slowly, Marie began to think how TAPS had helped in her journey towards healing since her husband had been killed. This would be an opportunity to give back to an organization that had truly made a difference in so many lives since 1992. That was the day TAPS Run and Remember Team was officially born!
On October 22, 2000, Lori Hunter and Marie Campbell completed the Marine Corps Marathon in memory of their husbands, and raised nearly $5,000 for TAPS. Marie came back again in 2001 as the only member of the TAPS Run and Remember team, but in 2002, the team grew to eleven. Slowly, the TAPS Run and Remember team was making a name for itself. In 2003 the team grew to include thirty-five the next year, and sixty-five the following year. In 2008, Marie Campbell officially joined TAPS as the Director of the Run and Remember Team and expanded the team nationwide. In 2011, the team had over 1,043 member participate in 46 different races in 17 states, and two foreign countries, all while raising over $415,000 to support the programs and services TAPS provides to families of our fallen military.
In January of 2015, after 15 years of teamhood, the TAPS Run and Remember Team officially transitioned to Team TAPS. In addition to running events, Team TAPS includes an unlimited number of competitive events such as biking, walking, swimming, triathlons, tennis and more.
Many members of Team TAPS are survivors themselves. In the midst of their own grief, they find healing not only in exercising but also in supporting others who have walked, are walking, or will walk in their shoes. Other members don't have their own fallen hero to honor, but choose to be matched with a surviving military family. They make contact with these families and let them know that their loved one's sacrifice will never be forgotten. This is meaningful for both the participant and the family, supporting the TAPS mission of providing comfort and care.
We are grateful to all our Team TAPS members, who consistently go the "extra mile" for us as they participate in memory and celebrate the life of a fallen hero while raising funds for TAPS. We invite you to check out our upcoming events and join Marie Campbell, Lori Hunter, and the thousands of others who have participated with Team TAPS to honor our fallen military heroes.
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Inc., Tax ID# 92-01522683033 Wilson Blvd. Suite 630, Arlington, VA 22201
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