TAPS ISSUES TIPS FOR THE PUBLIC TO SUPPORT GRIEVING MILITARY FAMILIESNonprofit Offering Support for Families of Fallen Troops Issues Statement on the Deaths of Seven U.S. Military Service Members in a Helicopter Crash in Afghanistan on Thursday
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – August 16, 2012
WASHINGTON – The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) issues the following statement on the helicopter crash yesterday in Afghanistan that took the lives of seven U.S. service members. The Washington Post reported that, “Thursday’s death toll of seven Americans was the highest for a Black Hawk incident since the Afghan war began in 2001.”
Our hearts and thoughts go out to the seven families whose loved ones died today while serving their country. On average, at least 10 people are significantly impacted by each military death. More than 70 people – mothers and fathers, spouses, children, siblings, and others will be personally impacted by these deaths.
TAPS is a national nonprofit organization, founded by surviving military families, which offers comfort and care to anyone grieving the death of a military service member. Since the early 1990s, TAPS has worked collaboratively with the military service branches to support grieving families. TAPS stands ready to help bereaved military families 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and our toll-free hotline is available at 1-800-959-TAPS (8277).
TAPS asks the public and the news media to be sensitive when approaching survivors of fallen troops for comment, especially in the immediate days after the deaths of their loved ones. Grief, sorrow, pride, and shock are often co-mingled for survivors. TAPS offers the following tips for those seeking to express sympathy and support to the families of those who died recently in service to their country:
Be understanding. Surviving families are in tremendous shock in the immediate days and weeks following the deaths of their loved ones. Understand that families may need to be focused on making important decisions about funerals, memorial services, benefits and a host of details. The family may not be able to respond to you right away or express their appreciation for your thoughtfulness.
Respect their privacy. Grieving families who have experienced the traumatic death of a loved one may especially need their family and close friends around them. Please allow them the privacy and space they need to get through what are going to be difficult days.
Think beyond flowers and food. Often bereaved families will be overwhelmed by gifts of food and flowers. Consider making a contribution to a charity or memorial fund in honor of their loved one. Often families will specify a charity or organization that their loved one supported and find this type of donation particularly touching.
Send a card. A card can express your sympathies and be an important reminder to a grieving family of your care and concern.
Simply express your condolences. If you talk with a family member, say you are sorry for their loss, or say you want to offer your condolences. That’s enough. Avoid saying things like “I understand exactly how you feel,” or “It was his (or her) time,” or “He (or she) wouldn’t want for you to be sad.”
About TAPSThe Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivor (TAPS) is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America’s fallen military heroes and has offered support to more than 35,000 surviving family members of our fallen military and their caregivers since 1994. TAPS provides peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, grief seminars for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, case work assistance, 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 crisis line at 800.959.TAPS.
Media contact: Ami Neiberger-Miller, Public Affairs Officer, 202.588.8277, email@example.com
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Inc., Tax ID# 92-01522683033 Wilson Blvd. Suite 630, Arlington, VA 22201
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