Saturday Morning Message: Volunteer in service to others

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

TAPS is one of many rewarding organizations where you can volunteer your time. The opening picture is from this year’s 25th Annual National Military Survivor Seminar showing the bright yellow shirts and welcoming smiles of two volunteers who attended and shared their time.

TAPS Volunteers

One way to volunteer for TAPS is with the Peer Mentor ProgramCharlene, mother of Devin, wrote, “I’m a trained Peer Mentor. Although I’m not currently mentoring, I’m very interested in offering guidance, love and support to our TAPS family. I’ve attended the online class and am going to conferences to learn more about it.” To find other ways to contribute to TAPS, go to the volunteer portal on the website.

Remember, you can write to me anytime — to contribute, subscribe or if you have thoughts on what could make the Saturday Morning Message more helpful. I look forward to hearing from you.  My email address is online@taps.org.

Hugs,
Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon

 

Answers from Survivors

Responses from Survivors to last week's question: What volunteer work have you done that has helped on your grief journey and how was it helpful to you?

From Robin, mother of Steven: My husband and I started volunteering with a local organization here in Virginia. Heroes on the River was started by an Army veteran. We met Adam in May 2018. He was walking with Terry Sharpe, also known as the Walking Marine, who walks to bring awareness to veteran suicide. Terry carries our Steven’s name on a red, white and blue ribbon. Adam and his group Heroes on the River organize outings for veterans at no cost. Annual picnics, deep sea fishing, skydiving and other outings give veterans of all branches of service a chance to connect with their brothers and spend time together. The events are free for veterans. Our family enjoys the time we spend helping them with the events.

From Beth, former spouse of Thomas: In memory and honor of my former spouse, I have donated some of his possessions to a family who lost everything in a fire; blood pressure machines to an acupuncture school; and computer speakers to classrooms that need it. I feel that some of his personal belongings will help others. I also have been working on resources to help K-8 students who may be experiencing grief, and also assisting school counselors with events for mental health awareness. Tom was a very caring person who would go out of his way to help others and I feel he would be happy for his possessions to be helping others. I feel that I am honoring his memory and it's also a release of peace and happiness for me to be letting go. It's not fair to keep his possessions as boat anchors when they could help others.

From Sharon, mother of Kevin: Immediately after our son’s death we were thinking of ways to honor him. He was a strong Christian and committed to three years of mission work in Belgium, so we set up an account with a ministry to help finance a church in Guatemala. Next year we will award a scholarship to a graduating senior from the class of 2020 at his high school to honor his memory. He was very active in high school and voted most likely to succeed. Success to him was doing God’s work, so he achieved the goal of leading a successful life.

If you would like to send a message thanking one or all of those who participated in this week’s Saturday Morning Message, send it to me at online@taps.org and I will make sure your thoughts are passed along to them.

 

Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message

I am at the Southeast Regional Seminar and Good Grief Camp in Jacksonville, Florida. Since travel can take up some of the time I usually use to put together the Saturday Morning Message, I will send a message composed from the archives for September 21 and use the same question for September 28, so you will have a chance to send a memory of your loved one to share. The question is: Will you share a memory of your loved one? It can be funny, sad, cute or one that is really important to you. We look forward to learning more about your loved one. 

Questions are the backbone of the Saturday Morning Message. In order to keep the Saturday Morning Message fresh, I am looking for more questions. If you have questions or topics you would like to see addressed in the Saturday Morning Message, you can email me at online@taps.org. I directly receive all responses that are sent to this address. Replies to the weekly question are best sent to me by Tuesday morning. You are an important part of this message, and I look forward to your questions or any ideas you may have.

 

♫ Song for the Week

A survivor sent the song “Don't Worry Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin. I really like the message it brings, so it is the Song for the Week.

You can send me favorite songs for this song of the week section at online@taps.org.


UPCOMING VIDEO AND TEXT CHATS

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Visit the TAPS Online Community Calendar for this week's schedule of text and video chats and other offerings. We have a virtual gathering most days of the week. Whether you want to share your story or just read how other survivors are sharing and coping, this online grief support community is a way for you to develop and strengthen your connections with TAPS.


Other Items and Events of Interest

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Make plans to join us for our next Virtual Military Survivor Seminar, August 21 and 22. We have new, dynamic sessions available throughout the weekend at no cost, with all of the resources, care and love we can offer, coming to you in the comfort of your home. We'll also have Share Groups, our facilitated support groups, where you can meet other survivors with similar loss experience. We look forward to seeing you online soon!

This Summer, Youth Programs is hosting TAPS Good Grief and Family Camp at Home through August 28. Each week, there are activities and challenges you can complete individually and as a family. Missed a week? No problem - all activities and challenges from previous weeks are available online. Join us for opportunities for you and the kids to connect to mentors and other families through Zoom sessions.

Save the date! Please join us for the Military Survivor New to Grief Seminar, once per week from September 3 to 24. Together we will work toward two primary goals. First, we will grow deeper understandings as we deconstruct myths about grief, explore the cognitive and physical impacts of grief, and seek to establish a helpful language around our own experiences. Second, we will establish community among our peers so that we have others who have a strong desire to accompany us as we continue navigating the ups and downs of our loss and grief.

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Did you lose your loved on due to an illness loss

If your military loved one suffered with a wound, illness, or injury, please consider taking our new Illness Loss Survivor Survey, so TAPS can honor your loved one through our advocacy efforts. If you took the survey last year, we ask that you retake it as we've made important updates. Your response could help shape policy and legislation, and direct future TAPS programs and services. To learn more, email illnessloss@taps.org.

Have you lost your job or have reduced household income? How has the pandemic made an impact on your life? If you are grieving the death of a loved one, and their life included military service, we'd like to hear from you.Your feedback will be used to improve TAPS programs and to communicate survivor needs to donors and stakeholders. Please tell us more by taking our COVID-19 Military Survivor Impact Survey. Those who take the survey will receive a discount to the TAPS Store, in appreciation for their valuable feedback.


About the Saturday Morning Message

The Saturday Morning Message (SMM) is a weekly communication; written and contributed to by survivors. The primary focus of the Saturday Morning Message is to foster peer-based connection for support and encouragement.  It is the goal of this communication to foster a safe, supportive atmosphere where we can openly share in a non-judgmental and caring manner. Read and contribute as you are comfortable, and explore any opinions/ideas shared that are most beneficial to you on your individual journey. Content submitted for inclusion in the Saturday Morning Message is edited for spacing considerations, grammatical corrections and may be used in other TAPS publications.  

To subscribe or contribute to the Saturday Morning Message email online@taps.org.

If you ever need to speak to someone regarding an urgent matter or just need a listening ear, the loving family at TAPS is available to you 24 hours a day. Please feel free to contact TAPS at 800-959-8277.