The TAPS Daily - April 10, 2020
Welcome to The TAPS Daily. Your source for some of the latest news, resources, and thought pieces relevant to the military family community during the COVID-19 response.
- TAPS COVID-19 Response
Find resources, services, and support provided 24/7 by TAPS to surviving military families navigating the challenges of COVID-19.
- TAPS COVID-19 Government and Partner Resource Update
Learn more about access to and impacts on your government benefits during COVID-19.
- Inspired by Love: Community Rallies Around Military Family with COVID-19
What could have been a time of anxiousness was an opportunity to reconnect and spend time in a space of gratefulness. Relationships were strengthened and hearts were lifted. “It comes down to perspective... to find the opportunities for beauty. You have to choose joy,”
- What you need to know about travel, stop-loss, masks and more, from senior Pentagon leadership
Recap of virtual town hall held by U.S. Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper, Chairman of The Joint Staff U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, and Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman Ramón "CZ" Colón-López to provide service members, their families, & DOD civilians an opportunity to ask questions on the department’s COVID-19 response.
- Pentagon Extends ID Card Expiration Dates, Allows Mail Order for Some
Military dependent and retiree ID cards set to expire this year will get an automatic extension through September, while some other ID card updates and enrollments are now permitted by fax or mail, according to new Pentagon guidance.
TAPS In the News
- Longtime NBA referee, renown sports psychologist outline game plan for coping with uncertainty of coronavirus pandemic
Dr. Joel Fish and TAPS Advisory Board Member, Bob Delaney, share how life lessons of sports can be applied to help control feelings of anxiety and fear during this COVID-19 pandemic.
- Seeking the Military Suicide Solution Podcast, Episode 13: Kim Ruocco from Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors
This podcast from Military Times examines the alarming rate of military and veterans suicide, offering new insights based on research and effective clinical and peer support practices in suicide prevention.
- Now, civilians are experiencing the same kind of crisis stress that is well known to military veterans
Sudden, huge changes in life are a norm in the military. Now, many Americans are experiencing stress similar to what veterans and their families have felt for years.
COVID-19 Key Updates
- COVID-19 Messaging Guidance
(National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention)
The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, of which TAPS is a proud partner, compiled a list of resources and messaging guidance that encourages staying socially connected while physically distancing during COVID-19 pandemic.
- DoD reports largest daily jump in COVID-19 cases as death toll rises to 13
In its largest day-over-day jump since the pandemic began, the Defense Department reported 245 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total diagnoses among troops to 2,031.
- VA COVID-19 update: over 3,500 cases, 174 patient deaths as officials downplay equipment shortage concerns
Since Veterans Affairs leaders reported the first death of a VA patient from coronavirus in mid-March, the number of positive cases — and fatalities — in the department’s health system has risen dramatically.
Government Relations / Benefits
- What to know before visiting DoD exchanges and commissaries during the COVID-19 pandemic
During the COVID-19 pandemic, military retail is doing all it can to keep exchanges and commissaries well stocked and clean while supporting physical distancing.
- Possible Military Pharmacy Changes Due to COVID-19
Do you use a military pharmacy? If so, there may be temporary limitations that result in a decrease in service or closure at your pharmacy due to COVID-19. TAPS is working to mitigate additional burden of pharmacy co-pays on survivors, military families and retirees, and is working with Congress to temporarily waive them during the COVID-19 crisis.
Grief / Trauma / Mental Health
- Learning to Accept – and Embrace – Uncertainty
Maggie Bainbridge has always loved having a plan for everything. But then, her husband died. Having strong Faith has helped her through uncertain times.
- I Buried My Grandfather on Zoom: Coronavirus & Livestreamed Funerals
The coronavirus hasn’t just changed our lives. It’s disrupted death — and the rituals that are fundamental to burial for religious families.
- Making it count: Saying goodbye from a distance
How COVID-19 has ripped apart traditional ways of saying goodbye to a loved one, mourning and grieving processes, with advice for families and care providers.
- This Easter weekend, many will find cemeteries closed for visits
(Los Angeles Daily News)
Families who want to pay respects at a loved one’s grave may have found it increasingly difficult to do so, as cemeteries around the region have changed their rules to help limit the coronavirus’ spread.
- From Caregiver to Survivor: Finding New Purpose and Honoring Husband's Legacy
Coleen Bowman lost her husband to a rare illness related to toxic exposure. After he passed she wanted to honor him by helping other survivors. In 2019 alone, TAPS welcomed over 2,000 survivors whose military loved ones died following an illness.
- 25,000 Soldiers for Life respond to call
Last month, the Army reached out to approximately 800,000 retired Soldiers, gray-area Soldiers and Individual Ready Reserve Soldiers, asking them to join the COVID-19 response effort. So far roughly 25,000 from numerous backgrounds have volunteered to rejoin the Army team.
- 'Too Early to Tell' When PCS Moves Will Restart, Pentagon Officials Say
The Defense Department is working to determine how best to lift a stop-move order that has halted all permanent change-of-station moves and most military travel since March 14, weighing considerations such as school calendars and medical readiness across duty stations.
- Hundreds of Marines Arrive in Guam to Help Virus-Stricken Carrier Crew
About 230 Marines and sailors with the 3rd Medical Battalion arrived in Guam this week to support members of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt. The crew was operating in the Asia-Pacific region when members began showing coronavirus symptoms after a port call in Vietnam.
Military Survivor News
- Sisters Celebrate Life — as Their Brother Would Want
Soon after their brother was killed in action, Katie and Beth decided to live like he would want them to live. To celebrate his memory and to add new memories.
- Memories of Childhood Fun With Beloved Brother
Lauren Griffin lost her twin brother who was killed in Afghanistan. She recalls happy childhood memories as National Siblings Day approaches.
- Survivors Fill Community Need for Face Masks
How one TAPS family deals with COVID-19 by giving back and sewing face masks for their community.
- Deborah Birx, Coronavirus Task Force Doctor, Army Veteran
Dr. Deborah Birx, who has become a household face after weeks of White House press briefings during which she speaks as part of the coronavirus task force, is a veteran of the United States Army.
- ‘He just got better and better’: 104-year-old Army veteran beats coronavirus in time to celebrate his birthday
(Stars and Stripes)
When William "Bill" Lapschies celebrated his 104th birthday with his family over chocolate cake and his favorite pizza on Wednesday, he wasn't just marking another annual milestone in his long, full life. He was also celebrating a full recovery from the novel coronavirus as one of the oldest-known survivors of COVID-19 in the U.S.
- This 99-year-old veteran has now survived the Second World War and COVID-19
World War II veteran is heading home after fighting his way to victory in another battle: beating COVID-19. Albert Chambers, of Doncaster, England, who was wounded and survived prison camp during the war was discharged Friday after recovering from the virus.
- VA staffers sound alarm over shortages in staffing, equipment
Union officials are raising concerns this week about what they see as significant deficiencies in VA readiness to respond to the coronavirus epidemic, which has already killed more than 6,000 Americans.
- VA mobilizing 3D printing to fight COVID-19
VA has pioneered the use of 3D printing in health care through its 3D Printing Network. Now, we’re using that expertise to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- John Prine, Grammy-winning country singer and Army veteran, dies at 73 of coronavirus
(Stars and Stripes)
Army veteran and GRAMMY award winning artist died after being hospitalized in Nashville of complications from the novel coronavirus. He previously overcame throat cancer in the 1990s and lung cancer in 2013.
- ‘Lean On Me,’ ‘Lovely Day’ singer Bill Withers dies at 81
Navy veteran and GRAMMY award winning artist’s death comes as the public has drawn inspiration from his song “Lean on Me” during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Federal investigation opened at Massachusetts veterans home with deadly COVID-19 outbreak
A federal investigation is now underway at Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts, where at least 25 veterans have died and management has been accused of failing to protect residents and staff amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Across the TAPS Family
- Use your TAPS gear to create masks for our troops and healthcare providers
The CDC has strongly encouraged all Americans to wear a cloth facemask when out of their homes. Masks are in short supply so we’re encouraging you to lend a hand by making masks and sharing them with military families, veterans, your loved ones, and healthcare providers. Share your creations on social media by tagging @taps.org and use #TAPS.
- Through Great Grief Comes Great Faith
Elizabeth made a family coat of arms for history class at her school in Maryland. She writes of how her family's resiliency inspired the project.
- The Comfort of Pets
The TAPS Family honors National Pet Day and our best animal friends in weekly Saturday Morning Message.
- USAA to return $520 million to members.
USAA is returning $520 million to their members with auto policies during the COVID-19 crisis. President of USAA Life Company and USAA Investment Management Company, Brandon Carter, serves on the TAPS Board of Directors and USAA is a strong supporter of TAPS.
- TAPS Talks series scheduled to ease isolation during COVID-19
View upcoming schedule for TAPS Talks series. The special online forum helps those feeling the stressful impacts of physical distancing through meaningful social connections with others across the TAPS Family.
- Responding to the COVID-19: TAPS Extends Virtual Services for Families Grieving Deaths of a Military Loved One
To provide ongoing support during this national emergency to survivors grieving the death of a loved one who served in the military, TAPS is extending its online capabilities, adding more opportunities for survivors to connect and receive support as needed.
- Battelle advising government's COVID-19 strategy.
Battelle has developed cutting edge technology to decontaminate PPEs and allow for multiple uses. Battelle CEO Lou VonThaer serves on the TAPS Board of Directors and Battelle is a strong supporter of TAPS.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.