Letters from TAPS: From the Volunteer Coordinator

Author: Jerome Tennille

Dear TAPS Family,

Nearly twenty-eight years ago in 1985, the General Assembly of the United Nations designated December 5 of every year as International Volunteer Day. It is an annual celebration of all that is achieved by volunteers around the world. As we observe that special day and enter the season of winter holidays, with their emphasis on light and warmth and giving, I am filled with gratitude for the wonderful TAPS volunteers who have stepped up to the plate to make this year a success.

Jerome Tennille

First and foremost I’d like to thank all who have worked tirelessly in assisting TAPS through 2013. As TAPS grows organizationally, providing care to more and more families—from the bustling cities to the farthest corners of this fine nation—the importance of a volunteer force grows along with it. This has been a fantastic year, and it would not have been possible without the strong support of our volunteers.

As a veteran of the U.S. Navy myself, serving from 2004 to 2012, I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of such an amazing organization filled with such amazing people. With my brother and many of my friends still actively serving in the armed forces, the mission of TAPS is near to my heart. As we near the end of 2013 and head into 2014, know that I’ll be calling on each and every one of our volunteers to continue the support they have shown year after year. I look forward to what I feel will be another special year to come.

If you have reached the point in your grief journey that you are ready to extend a helping hand to those more newly bereaved and would like to join our volunteer force, there are many ways you can help. No matter what role you choose, you will be making a difference in the lives of others. Please visit our website and explore all the possibilities. We have such a diverse group of volunteers that serve in so many different capacities, I’m confident we can find a good fit for you.

Peer mentors are survivors helping survivors, listening with an open heart to someone who is more newly bereaved. Camp mentors serve as “Big Brothers” or “Big Sisters” to children who have lost a parent, guardian, or other loved one in military service. Retreat hosts supplement TAPS staff as volunteers at retreats, helping participants enjoy and experience the retreat. Run and Remember Team members run, walk, or cheer others on while raising funds and awareness at race events all over America. Event supporters assist with set-up and tear-down, transportation, and various other tasks at events throughout the year. And if you live near Arlington, Virginia, you can always give us an extra hand at our national office—helping prepare Resource Kits for survivors, answering the phones, or assisting with special projects.

If you have special skills you’d like to put to good use, talk to us about ways you can help. We’d love to have you! To begin your volunteer journey, fill out our online application. Visit TAPS Volunteer Central to learn more.

Again, I cannot express my thanks enough. I look forward to hearing from each and every one of you, and meeting you at one of the many events we will be hosting nationwide next year.

With heartfelt gratitude,

Jerome Tennille
Volunteer Coordinator

For more information, contact us at: volunteer@taps.org.