The TAPS Daily - April 30, 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.
- TAPS Dog Blog with Beamer Burleson
Beamer is a very good boy. Today he helps his TAPS Family honor his fellow therapy animals with his own pawed out thoughts on providing unconditional love and support to his human.
- Blue Angels, Thunderbirds scheduled to fly over Baltimore, Washington and Atlanta this weekend
The Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds are slated to conduct formation flights over those Baltimore, Washington, and Atlanta on Saturday to honor essential workers and health care personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- COVID-19 Can’t Stop Gary Sinise and the National Memorial Day Concert
Plans are changing every day, but the National Memorial Day Concert will come off as scheduled on Sunday, May 24. Of course the current pandemic has required some changes, so Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna will host the special television event without the risks brought by a public gathering. Gary Sinise is a good friend and supporter of TAPS.
- Naval Academy to graduate the Class of 2020 over a 10-day period
Much like the rest of the country, each of the U.S. military’s service academies has had to make unusual adaptations to longstanding traditions in an effort to stifle the spread of COVID-19.
- Sailors send off Bob — a very good military working dog — after a stellar career
After nearly six faithful years of service, Bob, a black Labrador retriever who also previously worked alongside Marines, clocked out of his military working dog gig for the final time.
- In midst of crisis, Air Force veteran sings ‘God Bless America’ nightly from his yard
(Task and Purpose)
Every day, David Brubaker helps feed the hungry and assist others in need in central Brevard County. Every night, he takes a minute to feed his soul, standing in front of his house to sing "God Bless America" and offer a musical message of hope in the midst of a global pandemic.
TAPS In the News
- NJCU Athletics to Introduce Robert J. Delaney Service Above Self Award
(New Jersey City University)
The New Jersey City University athletics department will introduce a new major special annual award beginning this spring with the creation of the Robert J. Delaney Service Above Self Award. The inaugural award will be announced on June 1, 2020. Delaney serves on the TAPS Advisory Board.
- VA Groups: Families of National Guard, Reserve Who Die Fighting Virus Deserve Benefits
Representatives from the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors sent a letter on Friday to the House and Senates on Veteran's Affairs meant to help get benefits coverage for the service members around the country who are helping to combat coronavirus.
- 'Unfinished' funerals: Veteran ceremonies postponed in pandemic
Funeral Homes, Cemeteries Are Working Within State Orders To Social Distance And Limit Gatherings To Give Proper Send-offs. Melinda Kane, a Gold Star Mother, works closely with TAPS.
- 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.
- 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 one TAPS family.
- 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
- New law restores GI Bill benefits to veterans affected by pandemic
(Stars and Stripes)
President Donald Trump late Tuesday signed into law a second emergency GI Bill fix for student veterans whose studies have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, protecting work-study programs and providing extra insurance in the case of college closings.
- TRICARE beneficiaries may get free shipping of medication under new bill
(Task and Purpose)
If you’re a TRICARE beneficiary and you need to reup on meds, a new bill in Congress could save you some cash and a trip to the pharmacy at a time when leaving your house might expose you to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
- 76 lawmakers urge emergency funding for mental health in next coronavirus stimulus package
The lawmakers called for the next coronavirus stimulus to include at least $38.5 billion for behavioral health organizations (BHOs), which they say are at risk of being shuttered as part of the pandemic’s economic fallout.
- Troops, Families Say They’re Worried About Planned Changes to Military Health System
Military families are worried that with changes coming to the military health system that include outsourcing some care to community providers, they won't be able to find quality providers or access decent care.
- Finding Financial Resources During the Coronavirus Pandemic Fact Sheet
(DoD Financial Readiness)
Keep up with the latest policy changes and resources designed to assist service members and their families during times of financial hardship.
- Emergency Financial Aid for College Students: What Are Your Options?
The Department of Education is providing $6.28 billion in emergency grant funding for colleges to distribute to students affected by the coronavirus. The funding is available through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the CARES Act.
- Coronavirus FAQs: What Veterans need to know
Veterans Affairs provides answers to some of the commonly asked coronavirus-specific concerns.
Grief / Trauma / Mental Health
- Coronavirus mental health: Why having PTSD feels like a superpower right now for some
For the first time, it seems, the entire world knows what it’s like to live inside my head.
- Children's book by local author focuses on helping kids understand grief
During a time like this book opens up space for parents to open up to their kids and listen to their feelings after losing a loved one.
- Build Your Mind-Body Connection Everyday
How the mind-body connection can help us build our resilience muscles in small, incremental ways from the inside-out.
- An unwanted intrusion: Grief during isolation
Grief is an unwanted guest at the best of times, none more so than when you can’t actually have guests.
- Coronavirus and how it has changed the grieving process
As the pandemic continues to keep us physically distant, we must embrace new ways of expressing grief and memorializing our loved ones.
- 'If The Trees Can Keep Dancing, So Can I' : A Community Poem To Cope In Crisis
Earlier this month, NPR issued a poetry challenge: submit lines describing how you've been affected by the global coronavirus pandemic.
- Helping Students Through Pandemic Grief and Trauma
(School Library Journal)
While children struggle with their individual situations, educators may feel powerless, but they are not.
- Should You Let Your Boss Know If You Have a Mental Illness?
How to handle a mental health issue at work.
- Coronavirus job loss, 'psychological micro-traumas' likely to cause uptick in mental health calls, expert says
For the more than 30 million Americans who find themselves unexpectedly unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic, or the hundreds of thousands silently grieving the loss of a loved one in isolation, COVID-19 is poised to leave a lasting mental health impact that may require more than time to heal.
- How to combat COVID-19’s disparate mental health impact
(American Medical Association)
COVID-19 is also having an enormous mental impact on individuals, particularly those encumbered by social factors that impede high-quality health outcomes.
- Five Impacts Of Employee Mental Health Programs That Won't Show Up On HR Analytics Dashboards
Employee mental health remains one of the hottest topics in employee benefits.
- Air Force, Arizona Air Guard jets to perform flyover above Phoenix to honor responders
(Air Force Times)
Over a dozen U.S. Air Force and Arizona Air National Guard aircraft on Friday will conduct a flyover above metro Phoenix to honor health care workers and others responding to public needs during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Look to the sky Friday: Here's info about flyovers planned in New Orleans, Baton Rouge
The Louisiana Air National Guard's 159th Fighter Wing will join the Air Force Reserve's 2nd Bomb Wing for a flyover of New Orleans and Baton Rouge area hospitals to honor health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 response.
- Recall of West Point cadets before Trump address creates logistics hurdles — and health concerns
(Stars and Stripes)
Uncertainties remain for West Point cadets returning to campus for graduation including how to ensure that the cadets wouldn't sicken one another and how to account for sometimes unreliable test results.
- Pentagon announces Defense Production Act to boost coronavirus testing swab production
The Pentagon announced Wednesday that it will spend $75.5 million in Defense Production Act Title 3 funding to ramp up production of swabs needed for coronavirus testing.
- Army doctors have created a new device to help fight COVID-19
(Task and Purpose)
A team of Army doctors may have found the answer to the personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages impacting health care workers who are on the front lines of the fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Inside the Army's 24/7 lab working to develop a unique coronavirus vaccine
The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), which is now open 24 hours a day, seven days a week in pursuit of a coronavirus vaccine.
- Roosevelt sailors begin moving out of quarantine, back on board aircraft carrier
Hundreds of sailors who were evacuated from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in recent weeks began trickling back on board Wednesday as the hulking ship takes another step toward getting back to sea.
- Latest National Guard COVID-19 update: troop level steady at nearly 45,000
There are nearly 45,000 Air and Army National Guard professionals supporting the COVID-19 crisis response at the direction of their governors as of Tuesday afternoon. That’s about the same number as Tuesday.
- Dozens of Marine Recruits at Boot Camp in San Diego Have COVID-19
The Marine Corps has halted training for a company of recruits who arrived at boot camp on the West Coast last month after about four dozen of them tested positive for the illness caused by the coronavirus.
- Army in Stuttgart calls for vigilance as two-week streak of no coronavirus infections ends
(Stars and Stripes)
A two-week stretch with no new confirmed coronavirus cases ended Wednesday for the Army’s Stuttgart garrison, which earlier this month had reported more cases than any other U.S. military base in Europe.
- Army tank crews are playing video games to maintain readiness amid the COVID-19 pandemic
(Task and Purpose)
If you're feeling guilty about spending too much time playing video games during the coronavirus pandemic, don't: a handful of Army tank crews are actually relying on online gaming to maintain their readiness while social distancing.
- In First, DoD Awards Massive $7.2 Billion Contract to Single Company for PCS Moves
After extended debate and some controversy, U.S. Transportation Command has inked a massive $7.2 billion, three-year contract with a single company for the relocation of household goods in military permanent change of station moves.
- The Navy is working on bird internet
(Task and Purpose)
There are two words that could transform the nature of battlefield communications as we know it: Bird. Internet.
- Commemorate VE Day with a Virtual World of Warships Parade
May 8th marks the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, a World War II milestone that should rightfully rank in our collective memory alongside Pearl Harbor Day and D-Day. Wargaming is celebrating this anniversary with a virtual Navy parade on May 6th.
- Army vet Tom Moore who raised $38M for Britain's health heroes is 100
A British army veteran who raised more than £31 million ($38 million) for his country's National Health Service "heroes" is celebrating his 100th birthday in style.
- VA defends use of unproven malaria drug on veterans for coronavirus
Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie on Wednesday defended the use of an unproven drug on veterans for the coronavirus, insisting they were never used as “test subjects” but given the treatment only when medically appropriate.
- VA coronavirus deaths near 500, cases surpass 8,500 - Veterans
(Stars and Stripes)
The Department of Veterans Affairs reported Thursday that nearly 500 patients died last month from the coronavirus and 8,550 were infected.
- 'Is my dad alive?': Outrage as deaths mount at veterans home
Outrage is building among family members and workers who say leadership failed to protect the veterans at a Massachusetts veterans home and allowed the virus to spread unchecked.
- Vietnam and modern memory
A Marine veteran reflects on America’s involvement in Vietnam and treatment of the war’s veterans on the 45th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.
- This Marine came back to his family 5 years after he died
(We Are The Mighty)
Five years after he was deemed killed in action this Vietnam War veteran was discovered at Hanoi Hilton prison and was subsequently reunited with his family.
Military Family News
- Op-ed: Military service shapes who brats become
“I’m an Army brat, which makes me see the world in a unique way. Brats don’t choose military service or the lifestyle that comes with it, but we embrace our experiences as they shape who we grow up to be.”
- Military Families share COVID-19 impacts
Having a loved one away in the military during the COVID-19 pandemic is an adjustment that can be challenging for some.
Across the TAPS Family
- The Comfort of Music | TAPS Saturday Morning Message
The topic for this week’s Saturday Morning Message was inspired by how TAPS came together with the Roots & American Music Society to create an album of songs.
- HEB extends 'proud pay' to employees until May 24
H-E-B announced it is extending their "proud pay" to their employees through May 24 to all of their hourly store, manufacturing, warehouse and transportation partners. H-E-B is a strong supporter of TAPS.
- Detroit Lions Release Inspiring #TogetherDetroit Video During The Coronavirus Pandemic
TAPS Sports & Entertainment partner, the Detroit Lions, released an awesome video to inspire people during the coronavirus pandemic.
- NBA star John Collins helps Atlanta combat food scarcity during COVID-19 crisis
NBA star, John Collins, is putting his money where his heart is by teaming up with multiple organizations to combat food scarcity in Atlanta during the COVID-19. The Atlanta Hawks and the NBA are supporters of families of the fallen through TAPS Sports & Entertainment program.
Other Coronavirus News
- COVID-19 has now killed more Americans than the Vietnam War
(Task and Purpose)
U.S. coronavirus-related deaths reached a somber milestone the same week as the 45th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon by surpassing the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War.
- Fauci Warns States Against 'Tempting' a Coronavirus Rebound
The nation’s top infectious disease expert said Thursday that new cases of the coronavirus are a certainty as states begin to roll back restrictions.
- Disney's new line of face masks features Baby Yoda, Hulk and more of your favorite characters
Getting your kid (or even yourself) to wear a face mask just got a whole lot easier thanks to Disney's new line of masks featuring fan-favorite characters from Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars.
- Googlers’ tips for staying connected from a distance
Social distancing, by definition, makes it hard to get a healthy dose of human contact. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to keep in touch with friends and family that go beyond the standard phone call.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.