TAPS Senior Advisor Honored for Ongoing Efforts in the Military, Veteran, Caregiver, and Survivor Communities

Authors: Kristi Stolzenberg , TAPS

TAPS is fortunate to have talented staff members, volunteers, ambassadors, board members, and advisors who all answer the call to serve our nation’s military and veteran survivors, and they pour their hearts into the TAPS mission each and every day. For more than a decade, TAPS Senior Advisor Lynda Davis, Ph.D., has shared her passion for caring for America’s veterans, their families, their caregivers, and — through her work at TAPS — their survivors. Her expertise and dedication to those who sacrificed for our nation — both honed through a lifetime of service — enhances the work we do at TAPS, creates opportunities for collaboration with partner service organizations, and helps TAPS ensure that programs and events address the changing needs of the survivor community. 

For all that Dr. Davis has contributed to the military, veteran, caregiver, and survivor communities throughout her service-focused career in both the federal government and the nonprofit sector, we are proud to share that she was awarded the prestigious 2023 MG Alan B. Salisbury Salute to Service Award for Board Impact. This well-deserved recognition is reflective of Dr. Davis’ unwavering commitment to the populations she serves and the legacy she is building that will continue to improve the lives of service members, veterans, and their families.

Lynda Davis presented award

Ever humble, Dr. Davis responded to congratulatory remarks by posting, “Thank you TAPS, Elizabeth Dole Foundation, and many others! [I am] humbled by the Code of Support [Foundation’s] recognition that actually goes to all the people, agencies, and organizations I’ve served with to support our service members, veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors. [I am] grateful for the lasting legacy we’ve all built together.” 

Lynda Davis speaks at award ceremony

The award was presented on September 21, 2023, at the Code of Support Foundation’s 9th Annual Toast to Our Troops Gala, where women in service were recognized for their contributions to the military and veteran communities.   

During a break in service with TAPS, Dr. Davis served as the Chief Veteran Experience Officer at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), where she led her team in creating a culture of customer service that explicitly recognized survivors in all aspects of VA operations. Her legacy at the VA includes the first Veterans' Family, Caregiver, and Survivor Advisory Committee, the Center of Excellence for Veteran and Caregiver Research, and the Virtual Veteran Experience Action Centers for one-stop remote support during the pandemic. Her ongoing efforts have directly increased the trust that veterans, caregivers, and survivors have in the VA, and she has played an integral role in ensuring that VA's messaging reaches the survivor audience through TAPS, which is always critical, but was especially sensitive during the window for survivors to apply for retroactive PACT Act benefits from 2022-2023. 

Perhaps most notably in 2023, Dr. Davis was essential to the May release of the joint report, The Journey of Loving, Caring, Losing, Grieving, & Living On, which presents the challenges faced by military and veteran caregiver survivors and suicide-loss survivors. The report, presented by the Caregiver to Survivor (C2S) Project, is a collaborative effort between TAPS, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, and the Red Cross Military and Veteran Caregiver Network (MVCN). The MVCN was created by Dr. Davis and a dedicated TAPS team in 2014 to ensure that caregivers and caregiver survivors had the benefit of TAPS' evidence-informed peer support.

The C2S report outlines key findings and actions that each of these organizations will take to address the unique and complex challenges this community of survivors faces in the wake of their loss. Dr. Davis’ efforts on the project will ensure caregiver survivors and suicide-loss survivors do not grieve in isolation and misunderstood. The groundbreaking research and thoughtful recommendations will improve the quality of life for these survivors for generations during a critical moment for our veteran communities, when, tragically, illness loss and suicide loss continue to trend upward. 

We are honored to work alongside Dr. Davis to serve and advocate for the military and veteran survivor community. Congratulations, Dr. Davis — we are grateful for your profound and lasting impact and the time you dedicate to our nation’s survivors through your work at TAPS.

Kristi Stolzenberg is the TAPS Magazine Editor.