The TAPS Daily - April 27, 2020
Welcome to The TAPS Daily - your source for some of the latest news, resources, and thought pieces from across the military and veteran community during the COVID-19 response.
- Advocacy group wants survivor benefits for all military families who lose a service member to coronavirus
(Stars and Stripes)
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), a nonprofit and advocacy group for families of fallen service members, is looking to get the remainder of National Guard troops on federal status and to backdate it to help families of fallen receive federal benefits, such as monthly survivor compensation, education benefits or a death gratuity.
- IRS sets new May 5 deadline to get info from veterans who missed coronavirus checks
Treasury officials have set a new May 5 deadline for veterans with dependents who missed out on coronavirus stimulus checks earlier this month, warning that some of the money could be delayed until spring 2021 if they don’t act soon.
- Harry launches mental health tool for military
Prince Harry has led the way in a new mental fitness tool aimed at helping people in the military with their well-being.
- Thousands participate in memorial parade for fallen Marine Raider
The family of a U.S. Marine killed in Iraq last month had to postpone his memorial service because of restrictions on large gatherings in California to slow the spread of the coronavirus. On Sunday morning, they were surprised with a parade outside their Simi Valley home that began with a police helicopter flyover, followed by about 1,500 law enforcement vehicles, fire engines and cars.
- Navy Football Star Malcolm Perry Selected by Miami Dolphins in NFL Draft
The highest-rated prospect from a service academy, Malcom Perry, was a seventh round NFL draft pick. Perry watched draft selection along with his parents, Malcolm Sr. and Bonnie, both of whom are United States Army veterans. The Miami Dolphins have partnered to provide game day experiences for families of the fallen through TAPS Sports & Entertainment program.
TAPS In the News
- NFL celebrates the life of Reco Peevy during 2020 Draft
The NFL Draft is a celebration for prospects achieving their dreams and fans excited for the future of their organization, but prior to the Las Vegas Raiders' No. 80 overall pick, the NFL dedicated a special moment to the Pruitt family.
- TAPS family highlighted by NFL during NFL Draft
(@NFL on Twitter)
The Pruitts, a @TAPSorg family, introduce the @Raiders selection: @UKFootball RB @LynnBowden_1
- Iowa mom makes facemasks to cope with loss of son in Afghanistan war
(Des Moines Register)
TAPS Family in Iowa shares how grief at loss of their own fallen hero was motivation to help others during coronavirus pandemic.
- Here's what grieving military families can teach civilians dealing with coronavirus tragedy
TAPS families of the fallen are no strangers to isolation after loss. TAPS President and Founder Bonnie Carroll shares how their experience is helping others dealing with COVID-19.
Government Relations / Benefits
- Internet providers lower overage fees, offer free service for troops affected by virus
(Stars and Stripes)
Some internet providers at U.S. military bases are slashing overage fees or providing free service to troops in lockdown or quarantine due to the coronavirus.
- VA and DoD Identification Card Renewal and Issuance Guidance During the Coronavirus Pandemic
(We Are The Mighty)
VA and the Department of Defense (DoD) have taken action to minimize the number of non-essential required visits to identification (ID) card offices during the coronavirus public health emergency. If you have a VA or DoD ID card that has expired or is getting ready to expire, here are your options.
- inTransition provides 24/7 support to connect service members and veterans to local mental health care
(Psychological Health Center of Excellence)
inTransition is a free, confidential program that offers specialized coaching and assistance for active-duty service members, National Guard members, reservists, veterans and retirees who need access to mental health care.
- Internet Essentials from Comcast
Internet Essentials from Comcast provides affordable high-speed Internet at home for eligible households. New customers will receive two months of free service in response to the coronavirus emergency.
Grief / Trauma / Mental Health
- How to reframe the difficult coronavirus lockdown period as 'one of the greatest opportunities of our lives'
TAPS Advisory Board member, Dr. Alan Wolfelt, provides insight on making the most of quarantine. “Now that the routines of our daily lives have been disrupted many of us are finding ourselves with more time for mindful presence. Instead of doing, doing, doing, we can simply be.”
- Fighting Spirit: Inside the Military's Battle for Mental Health
Depression and PTSD are the greatest threats facing today's armed forces. Meet the men striking back.
- Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations such as an infectious disease outbreak. It is normal to experience a wide range of emotions. The Department of Health and Human Services provides information about resources and advice to help you cope and to support your mental and behavioral health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Guidance on psychological assessment and management of chronic pain during the COVID-19 crisis
(American Psychological Association)
Although usually handled by specialty care providers, psychologists may find themselves addressing pain management concerns with their patients during COVID-19. Here is guidance for navigating pain psychological assessment and interventions via telehealth.
- Treating Suicidal Patients During COVID-19: Best Practices and Telehealth | Suicide Prevention Resource Center
(Suicide Prevention Resource Center)
Free recorded webinar on effective treatment for suicidal patients during COVID-19.
- It's time to address the unprecedented grief surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic
The kind of global grief we are experiencing — and our inability to physically gather together in its midst — is truly unprecedented. Unlike during wars, when we can come together to weep and grieve, we must learn now how to care for one another at physical, but not social, distance from each other.
- What It’s Like to Be a Text Crisis Counselor in the Middle of a Pandemic
Kristy Hixon volunteers at the Crisis Text Line. As the pandemic has triggered anxiety and isolated millions of people, volunteers like Hixon have been receiving an increasing number of coronavirus-related texts, many from kids who are stuck at home and going through all sorts of crises.
- Leading Through Grief in Life and Work
(Harvard Business Review)
Throughout our lives, we will all experience grief in one form or another. It can also translate into depression, anxiety, and other emotional strain. But as we grieve, we often have to keep working or growing our businesses. And that is true even in a time of mass grief, like a pandemic.
- Grieving is hard, but new text service means you don't have to do it alone
Grief Coach, a messaging service that sends personalized support to subscribers. The texts vary from week to week. Sometimes they serve as a reminder to practice self-care. Other times they prompt users to stop and think about the loss.
- Trump wants to pull troops from Afghanistan over coronavirus: report
President Trump has told advisers that he wants the U.S. to pull its troops from Afghanistan to avoid service members there being exposed to the coronavirus, NBC News reported Monday.
- Latest National Guard COVID-19 update: 44,500 troops mobilized with 83 percent on Title 32 orders
The number of Guard troops mobilized in the effort to cope with the coronavirus pandemic continues to increase.
- How the coronavirus pandemic has shaken the US military
As the country prepares for a possible second wave of the virus this fall, the obstacles facing the Pentagon are massive.
- DOD COVID-19 Response Continues Long History of Aiding Civilians
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, active duty military, reserve and National Guard service members are responding in various ways, from providing medical support and logistics to transportation and food delivery. This isn't the first time the Defense Department has assisted civil authorities in the United States.
- America's military goes to war against the coronavirus
As America fights to defeat the novel coronavirus, U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and DoD civilians are honoring their oaths here at home in extraordinary ways and saving countless lives in the process.
- Virginia National Guard helps with COVID-19 response
More than 540 members of the Virginia National Guard are ready to assist Virginia’s COVID-19 response with testing, distribution of food and key supplies and training people how to use personal protective equipment (PPE).
- More than 4,000 troops have been diagnosed with COVID-19
Nearly 300 more service members tested positive for coronavirus over the weekend, bringing the military’s total to 4,213 cases, according to the Defense Department’s latest data.
- West Point plans to mass test and soft quarantine cadets coming back to graduate
The U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, intends to test all cadets returning to graduate in June for the novel coronavirus using two new GeneXpert devices procured after the academy established a planning group in mid-March to determine how the process would work.
- Coronavirus outbreak aboard USS Kidd increases to 47 sailors
(Stars and Stripes)
The coronavirus outbreak aboard the USS Kidd has increased to 47 sailors, as the illness continues to spread among the crew since the first sailor was evacuated from the ship four days ago.
- Navy hospital ship Comfort offloads few remaining patients before NYC exit
The Navy hospital ship sent to relieve stress on New York City hospitals at the height of the pandemic is discharging or transferring its last 12 patients this weekend as it nears the end of its mission, according to Northwell Health, which provides operational assistance to the vessel.
- Coronavirus case numbers are dropping at bases in Japan, USFJ commander says
(Stars and Stripes)
Coronavirus case numbers are falling at U.S. bases in Japan and shallowing outside the wire, the commander of U.S. Forces Japan told military community members during a virtual town hall Friday.
- Military Chaplains Pivot to Serve Soldiers in Virus Outbreak
A chaplain’s ministry — no matter the religion — has always been about in-person connections. How does that continue when the flock is forced apart? They’re figuring it out on the fly, with the help of technology, all while tensions are high for soldiers.
- The Air Force is officially investigating whether fighter pilots have higher rates of cancer
(Task and Purpose)
The Air Force has finalized the terms of a groundbreaking study sought by former fighter pilots to determine whether military aviators are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer.
- Non-citizen US troops sue Pentagon over slowed naturalization process
Six U.S. troops filed a class action lawsuit Friday alleging the Pentagon is blocking their ability to use an expedited process to become naturalized U.S. citizens.
- Veterans encouraged to use online mental health resources during coronavirus pandemic, officials say
(FOX 13 Memphis)
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center is encouraging veterans to use online resources for routine or non-urgent mental health care and questions during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a press release.
- Veteran advocates say VA has provided few answers around agency's virus study
Veterans advocates say they are frustrated at the lack of transparency around the Department of Veterans Affairs' use of the unproven drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the coronavirus.
- As coronavirus cases rise, VA leaders blame supply shortages on FEMA
The number of coronavirus cases among Veterans Affairs patients continued its steady rise over the weekend as department officials acknowledged supply shortages at VA hospitals because of protective equipment being diverted to the national stockpile.
- FEMA Reportedly Took The 5 Million Masks Ordered For Veterans To Send To Stockpile
Five million face masks ordered by the Veterans Health Administration to protect staff at the department’s hospitals and clinics were taken by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the Strategic National Stockpile, a top official told The Washington Post.
- 'It's a sinking ship': COVID-19 deaths triple at state-run vets nursing homes as families clamor for information
(Stars and Stripes)
Almost every day over the last two weeks, military veterans and their spouses have been dying at top-rated, state-run nursing homes ravaged by the coronavirus.
- Dozens of veterans have died from COVID-19 outbreak in Soldiers' Home
(Task and Purpose)
More than 50 residents of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home have died since the virus invaded in early March, most of them from the effects of COVID-19.
- As Deaths Mount, Officials Test All Veterans at Nursing Home
A nursing home for veterans in Louisiana has one of the state's deadliest coronavirus clusters, data shows.
- Hundreds Pay Final Respects to World War II Veteran
Patriotic residents of Northeast Pennsylvania answered the call Saturday by showing up en masse to pay final respects to a World War II veteran since the military can't give traditional honors during the coronavirus shutdown.
- Children of Holocaust Survivors, WWII Veterans Commemorate 75th Anniversary of Dachau Concentration Camp Liberation
With fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors and World War II veterans alive to bear witness to the atrocities of the war, it is now falling on their children to keep the stories alive.
- The untold story of the Navy SEAL and canine hero who caught Bin Laden
(We Are The Mighty)
On May 2, 2011, Navy SEAL Will Chesney and his K9 partner, Cairo, were part of the team of two dozen Navy SEALs who touched down in Pakistan and descended upon Osama bin Laden's compound in what would come to be known as Operation Neptune Spear.
- Meet the Combat Veteran Behind Auburn Tigers’ Social Media
Wounded warrior responsible for the oversight of all University of Auburn social media strategy within athletics, and manages the Auburn Tigers and men’s basketball social media accounts.
- More than 60 lawmakers want to award James Mattis the Congressional Gold Medal
(Task and Purpose)
An effort to award former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis one of the nation’s most prestigious civilian awards just got a bit closer towards its goal.
- VA helps Veteran prep for marathon with new prosthesis
After many years of struggling with foot fractures and infections, a Marine Corps Veteran knew it was time to seek care at VA. His new goal in life is to complete the Marine Corps Marathon in October.
- Amazon is helping Veterans start their own delivery business
Amazon’s Delivery Service Partner program empowers entrepreneurs to build their own small businesses delivering Amazon packages in their local communities.
Military Family News
- More than a quarter of military families have less than $500 in emergency funds survey finds
More than a quarter of all military families — 27.4 percent — currently serving active duty, in the Reserves, or in the National Guard have less than $500 socked away in emergency savings or could have no emergency savings set up, according to the latest Military Family Support Programming Survey released Thursday.
Across the TAPS Family
- Town Hall on Self Care and Resiliency for Military Families During COVID-19
Join TAPS and our partners on the COVID-19 Military Support Initiative for a Town Hall on Self Care and Resiliency for Military Families During COVID-19. This event will be held TOMORROW 4/28 at 3:00 pm Eastern. Registration is required.
- teams4taps hosts Facebook Live with NASCAR driver Spencer Boyd on April 29
TAPS Huddle on Wednesday, April 29 with Spencer Boyd, driver of the #20 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado in NASCAR’s Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
- Baker tours factory where Hasbro is making face shields
(NBC 10 Boston)
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Saturday toured a factory where Hasbro is making personal protective equipment. Hasbro has provided many of the games and toys for children of fallen heroes in TAPS Good Grief Camps.
- NBA ref Bill Kennedy delivers 100 meals to Banner Hospital 'frontline' workers amid COVID-19
NBA referee Bill Kennedy combined his love for Carrabba's and wanting to make a difference to show support for those in his hometown of Phoenix on the frontlines during this coronavirus pandemic. NBA Referees have provided game day experiences for families of the fallen through the TAPS Sports & Entertainment program.
- College Students U-Haul Offers 30 Days Free Self Storage Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
As growing concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak continue to disrupt, U-Haul® is stepping forward with an offer of goodwill to college students affected in the U.S. and Canada. U-Haul is a strong supporter of TAPS and our annual TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp.
Other Coronavirus News
- Cases in US
Total US Cases 957,875 Total US Deaths 53,922
- Social distancing will continue ‘through the summer,’ Dr. Deborah Birx says
(FOX 5 DC)
The White House Coronavirus Task Force response coordinator said social distancing practices will need to continue through the summer to ensure the safety of Americans amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- How to donate plasma if you've recovered from COVID-19
Recovered from COVID-19? Here's how to donate plasma.
- How contact tracing works, and why it will be key to fighting the coronavirus
In addition to ramping up testing, public health officials say that a robust contact tracing system will be crucial to allowing Americans to safely get back to work and school.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.