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HELPING WAR WIDOWS FIND JOY AGAIN: TAPS RETREAT RETURNS LAUGHTER TO GRIEVING SPOUSES
Nonprofit’s Winter Wonderland Retreat Helps Military Widows Smile Again & Find Support

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 7, 2012

BOZEMAN, Mont. – They are the faces of war – the widows and fiancés left behind by our fallen military service members. After they received the folded flag at their spouse’s funeral, they began the hard journey to rebuild shattered dreams and lives. But at least these military widows don’t have to do it alone - they've got help and support from TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors).

For a few days in Bozeman, 40 widows and widowed fiancés will share their memories, struggles and new lives as they connect and bond over skiing, sleigh rides, snowshoeing , a scavenger hunt and other activities.

Most of the widows attending the retreat are in their twenties or thirties. Their husbands or fiancés died in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan, in military training exercises, from sudden illness, or by suicide.  Away from their relatives who worry about how they are doing and the demands of raising children and re-starting their lives – they’ll enjoy outdoor adventures and re-capture their joy for living. 

The following activities on their schedule are available to be filmed by the media:

Wednesday, January 9, 3pm-9pm – Widows arrive and check in to the hotel. With scheduling, media interviews are available.

Thursday, January 10, 9am-2:15pm - Cross country skiing, and snowshoeing at Lone Mountain Ranch. They will take a sleigh ride to North Fork Cabin.

Friday, January 11, 12:30pm-5pm – Skiing at Bridger Bowl Ski Resort.

Saturday, January 12, 10am-1pm – Scavenger hunt in downtown Bozeman

Much of the schedule is designed to foster conversations and support for these grieving widows. Being able to talk with others who have experienced a similar loss helps military widows and widowed fiancés process their experience, realize that they are not alone in their grief, and establish support networks.

On average, it takes 5-7 years for people experiencing a traumatic death of a loved one to reach a “new normal” and the impact of a military death lasts for a lifetime.

This is the first in a series of three retreats TAPS will hold this year for military widows, and is one of more than 30 events TAPS hosts around the country for surviving families of our fallen military.

About TAPS: Founded by a military widow in 1994, TAPS is the leading national organization providing compassionate care to the families of America’s fallen military heroes. TAPS welcomes anyone grieving the death of someone who died while serving in the military, regardless of where they died, or how they died. TAPS has offered support to more than 35,000 surviving family members of our fallen military and caregivers assisting them. TAPS provides peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, seminars for adults, good grief camps for children, case work assistance, connections to community-based care and a 24/7 resource and information helpline for all who have been affected by a death in the Armed Forces. For more information, go to www.taps.org or call 800.959.TAPS (8277).

Media contact: Ami Neiberger-Miller, 202.588.8277, ami@taps.org

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