At Annual Honor Guard Gala, TAPS Remembers our Fallen Service Members and Honors the Families They Left Behind
Proceeds Provide Vital Programs for Military Families, Including 24/7 Helpline, Counseling, Peer-Support and Casework Services
ARLINGTON, Va. - More than 800 military survivors, senior Administration and Pentagon officials, and supporters from the business community gathered Wednesday night for the annual Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) Honor Guard Gala, held at the National Building Museum.
"TAPS is about helping military families cope with loss. It's about keeping faith, and it's about lives that are changed," said Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "So what TAPS really means to those of us that are still in uniform is that someone is always going to be there for us and our families, especially if we confront tragedy."
Funds raised at the event provide the critical programming that TAPS has delivered for 23 years, including a 24/7 National Military Survivor Helpline, Good Grief Camps, and immediate and long-term care for families who have lost a loved one in service to our nation.
At the Gala, TAPS presented its inaugural National Community Partnership Award to the National Basketball Association (NBA) and USA Basketball, for their extraordinary support and personal engagement with the surviving families of America's fallen heroes. In addition, TAPS awarded the 2017 Senator Ted Stevens Leadership Award to Jaclyn Mariano, recognizing her outstanding leadership on behalf of other military survivors.
"The sacrifices made by our service members and their families allow our teams, players, coaches and referees to participate in the game the we love and bring the joy of basketball to fans round the world," said Mark Tatum, the NBA's Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer. "To date, the NBA and USA Basketball have connected with more than 2,000 TAPS families. Their stories of perseverance in the face of tragedy have given members of the NBA family an appreciation for things that we can sometimes take for granted. It is our hope that the moments of joy that TAPS families can experience with the world's greatest coaches, players and referees last a lifetime."
In addition, TAPS awarded the 2017 Senator Ted Stevens Leadership Award to Jaclyn Mariano, recognizing her outstanding leadership on behalf of other military survivors. At the annual TAPS Honor Guard Luncheon which preceded the Gala, TAPS signed a formal Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Department of Veterans Affairs, and honored Army Staff Sgt. Daniel Davenport as the organization's 2017 Mentor of the Year.
This year's Title Sponsor was USAA and the Legacy Sponsor was HSBC Bank. Presenting Sponsors included BAE Systems, DynCorp International, Oshkosh Defense, Prudential Financial, Telos Corporation, Health Net Federal Services and United Technologies Corporation.
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America's fallen military heroes and has offered support to more than 70,000 surviving family members of our fallen military and their caregivers since 1994. TAPS provides peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, grief seminars and retreats for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, case work assistance, connections to community-based care, online and in-person support groups and a 24/7 resource and information helpline for all who have been affected by a death in the Armed Forces. Services are provided free of charge. For more information go to www.taps.org or call the toll-free TAPS resource and information helpline at 1.800.959.TAPS (8277).
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