The TAPS Daily - May 15, 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.
- Bonnie Carroll on CNN Shares New Civilian Resource Page for COVID-19 - We Are All In This Together
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors typically helps Gold Star families through the grief of losing loved ones. Now, it is offering resources to those affected by coronavirus, the program’s president and founder Bonnie Carroll tells Brianna Keilar on CNN.
- We're All in This Together - TAPS COVID-19 Civilian Response Page
As survivors of military death, we are no strangers to isolation, fear and loss; we have many lessons learned and tools for coping. We have the advice of experts from our Advisory Board that we will share with you and other resources we’ve discovered over nearly three decades.
- Arlington National Cemetery will stay closed to general public over Memorial Day weekend
Arlington National Cemetery will be open to families of fallen troops buried there over the Memorial Day weekend but not to the rest of the general public, site officials announced Friday.
- Medal of Honor Recipient Dead at 41 After Yearslong Lung Cancer Fight
The U.S. Secret Service announced Thursday that former Army Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer, a U.S. Army Special Forces medic who earned the Medal of Honor for heroism in Afghanistan, has died following a protracted battle with lung cancer. He was 41.
- Survivors Together: Department of Veterans Affairs Memorial Day Q&A about benefits
The Department of Veterans Affairs and our community partners TAPS, American Gold Star Mothers, AAFMAA, Wounded Warrior Project, & Travis Manion Foundation will be here on May 20 at 3 p.m. to answer questions.
- Family scattering grandmother’s ashes met by whales and dolphins in memorable encounter
(FOX 5 DC)
A family honoring their late grandmother by scattering her ashes at sea was met by a pod of dolphins and whales — adding to the beauty of the meaningful moment.
Memorial Day News
- Things to Do with Your Family from Home on Memorial Day
Though things may be a bit different this year, there are still plenty of things you can do with your family from home on Memorial Day.
- Craig Morgan Leads Grand Ole Opry's 2020 'Salute the Troops' Memorial Day Special
U.S. Army veteran and country singer Craig Morgan is joining Steven Curtis Chapman and Kellie Pickler on stage in Nashville for a "Grand Ole Opry Salute the Troops Memorial Day Weekend Special" on Saturday, May 23.
- TCM Honors the Military With a 2020 Memorial Day Movie Marathon
Turner Classic Movies continues its own Memorial Day tradition and will air a 31-movie marathon of military-themed movies from Saturday, May 23, through Monday, May 25.
TAPS In the News
- The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Opens its Doors to the American People
In the wake of the devastating impact of COVID-19, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) has made available nearly 30 years of resources, information and hopeful healing to the American people.
- 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.
- 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
- READ: CDC guidelines for US reopening
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday evening released new guidelines for schools, workplaces and other venues throughout the United States to reopen safely as the country continues to wrestle with the coronavirus pandemic.
- FTC warns of nursing homes seizing residents' stimulus checks
Some nursing homes and assisted living facilities have forced residents who are on Medicaid to sign over their federal coronavirus stimulus checks, saying the money must be used to pay for their stays, the Federal Trade Commission said Friday.
- Changes to VA benefits operations forced by coronavirus could outlast the pandemic
In a surprising twist, the forced closure of hundreds of Veterans Affairs benefits offices because of the coronavirus outbreak may actually be helping officials reach more veterans.
- Oversight of Veterans Homes to be Probed After Virus Deaths
A congressional watchdog agency has agreed to investigate the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ oversight of homes for aging veterans following a surge of coronavirus deaths at the state-run facilities.
- VA researching prostate cancer drug as potential coronavirus cure
Veterans Affairs researchers are launching clinical trials to see whether a prostate cancer drug could help prevent adverse health effects from coronavirus in men, department officials announced Friday.
- Pentagon Considers Reimbursing Pet Shipping Costs During Pandemic
Military members could be reimbursed for the extra costs of relocating their pets as part of a permanent change-of-station move during the pandemic, Pentagon officials said Thursday.
- VA to Pay More Than $1 Million to Veterans to Settle Improper Treatment Lawsuits
The federal government has agreed to pay more than $1 million total to five veterans who alleged mistreatment of foot and ankle problems at the Togus Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Augusta.
Grief / Trauma / Mental Health
- How to find hope in dark times
Lessons in resilience from the forefront of 9/11.
- How Common is PTSD in Women?
Women with PTSD are more likely to feel depressed and anxious. Learn more through the VA’s resource page on post traumatic stress.
- Columbus Crew SC to auction off game jerseys to aid children's mental health
Columbus Crew SC are collaborating with Nationwide Children's Hospital in furthering the mission of "On Our Sleeves" to help transform children's mental health, the club announced in a release this week. The MLS team has previously partnered with TAPS Sports & Entertainment to support families of the fallen.
- Kenneth Cole Launches Mental Health Initiative
The Mental Health Coalition is aiming to help fight the stigmas associated with mental health struggles.
- Law enforcement groups urge mental health awareness amid coronavirus
Experts say police officers not only have to deal with death in their ranks but also the lasting trauma from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
- It’s Not Children’s Education We Should Worry About, It’s Their Mental Health
While the debate has largely focused on the loss to children’s education while schools have been shut, a bigger concern is the effect on their mental health.
- How Pandemic Related Stress Impacts Your Workouts
Research shows mental strain caused by a brain on overdrive can have negative effects on our physical performance.
- Panic attack vs. anxiety attack: How to tell the difference
Panic attacks and anxiety attacks are often used interchangeably, but they actually describe two different events.
- Space Force unveils its service flag at White House ceremony
(Stars and Stripes)
The U.S. Space Force unveiled its service flag on Friday, when top Pentagon officials presented President Donald Trump with the sixth military branch’s officials colors during a private Oval Office ceremony marking Armed Forces Day.
- For the second week, COVID-19 recoveries among troops outpaced new diagnoses
More than 5,500 service members have tested positive for coronavirus since late February, according to the latest numbers from the Defense Department, but troops are starting to recover at a higher rate than new cases are being diagnosed.
- Arlington National Cemetery Goes Virtual to Commemorate Milestone Anniversary
Arlington National Cemetery, which has been closed to the public during the novel coronavirus pandemic, marked the 100th anniversary of its historic amphitheater Friday with virtual events.
- Military Flyovers Thank Americans for Service to Country
DOD has also demonstrated gratitude to health care workers by conducting flyovers in many cities and states throughout the U.S. — including Detroit, New York City, Chicago, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Washington state — with more flyovers planned for Los Angeles today and other areas.
- What the COVID-19 pandemic reveals about the US military's role in defending the nation
(Task and Purpose)
Opinion: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a stark reminder that America’s defense requires more than the Department of Defense.
- Volunteers Use 3D Printing to Aid COVID-19 Relief Efforts
Soldiers joined other volunteers in the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, area to volunteer their free time and personal 3D printing capabilities to print and create face shields for donation to hospitals and health care workers combating COVID-19 across the nation.
- Hundreds of Navy Recruits Quarantine at Closed Water Park Before Basic Training
The Navy is spending roughly $1.1 million to send about 500 recruits each week to the Great Wolf Lodge Water Park near Chicago for two weeks of quarantine before they are shipped to basic training, service officials said.
- USNS Mercy Returning to San Diego After Assisting COVID-19 Response
The San Diego-based hospital ship Mercy will return to its home port Friday after seven weeks in Los Angeles assisting with patients during the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Northern Command said.
- Five Theodore Roosevelt sailors re-test positive for COVID-19
Five sailors from the embattled aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt who had previously tested positive for COVID-19 retested positive this week, officials confirmed Friday.
- Military faces another potential coronavirus toll: Budget cuts
(Stars and Stripes)
As the novel coronavirus has swept the globe, Pentagon officials have scrambled to adjust everything from basic training to submarine deployments to prevent the pandemic from taking a lasting toll on the military's ability to respond to adversaries.
- F-22 crashes at Eglin AFB; pilot is in stable condition after ejecting
(Stars and Stripes)
An F-22 Raptor pilot is in stable condition and recovering at an Eglin Air Force Base hospital in Florida after a training accident Friday morning, according to Air Force officials.
- Veterans weigh coronavirus exposure risk at VA
Veterans facing cancers or other chronic illnesses told McClatchy that this coronavirus outbreak and the number of coronavirus cases within the VA health care system has made them wary of seeking care.
- Retired Generals to Congress: Boost Funding for National Parks to Let Veterans Heal
Seven retired generals have called on Congress to boost funding for national parks, which they say can serve as spaces for "post-pandemic healing" of veterans under stress.
- ‘I feel like I lost my blood brother’: Medal of Honor recipient remembered by Afghan forces
(Stars and Stripes)
Green Beret medic and Medal of Honor recipient Ronald Shurer was remembered Friday by Afghans who fought alongside him as a brave soldier who helped to establish Afghanistan’s special operations units.
- As VA deaths near 1,000, department boosts hiring, supplies
(Stars and Stripes)
After weeks of supply shortages and staffing concerns, the Department of Veterans Affairs said it has obtained millions of respiratory masks and hired thousands of employees in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Navy tells SEAL to remove Trident from his on the Bin Laden raid
(Task and Purpose)
The Navy sent a letter to the publisher of “No Ordinary Dog” taking issue with its use of the Navy Special Warfare insignia, also known as a SEAL trident, on the cover of book about hero dog involved in Bin Laden raid.
- Teddy Roosevelt IV became a Navy SEAL to fight in Vietnam
(We Are The Mighty)
Roosevelts fought in the trenches of World War I and landed at Normandy during D-Day. There was even a Roosevelt silently stalking the Viet Cong in the jungles of Vietnam: Theodore Roosevelt IV.
- WWII aircraft return to the skies to commemorate VE Day
Historic World War II aircraft returned to the skies over Houston and Phoenix to honor the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe.
Military Family News
- 9 Ideas to Make Summer (School?) Smoother
School may be ending soon, but summer is going to look a little different this year. To help parents of all ages get through the summer, we’ve collected some great virtual resources to help.
Across the TAPS Family
- TAPS COVID-19 Response
Find resources, services, and support provided 24/7 by TAPS to surviving military families navigating the challenges of COVID-19.
- COVID-19 Government and Partner Resource Update
Learn more about access to and impacts on your government benefits during COVID-19.
- Made with Prayers and Good Wishes
A surviving spouse is getting through the virus craziness by knitting prayer shawls for patients at a local nursing home and the hospice facility.
- General Martin Dempsey | No Time For Spectators
(The Jordan Harbinger Show)
TAPS Board Member, General Martin Dempsey, talks us through his latest book, No Time for Spectators: The Lessons That Mattered Most from West Point to The West Wing
- ‘Hey, what are you reading?’Kids start social distance book club.
(Love What Matters)
TAPS kid, Emma Dozier, is bringing Harry Potter to life for other kids while practicing social distancing.
- Treating Grief in the Veteran Population
In PsychArmor’s course "Treating Grief in the Veteran Population," TAPS Peer Mentor, Dana O'Brien, describes his feelings of loss after his grandson, Daniel, died by suicide.
- Enjoy the TAPS Talks series on demand
In response to the need to reduce sense of isolation, the new TAPS Talks series brings comfort and connections to those feeling the stressful impacts of social distancing.
- 2020 Virtual National Military Survivor Seminar and Family Program | TAPS
Register to join us, virtually, this Memorial Day weekend to honor our fallen heroes. The Virtual National Military Survivor Seminar and Family Program is offered to all those grieving the loss of a loved one who served in our nation's Armed Forces.
- Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Upcoming Events | TAPS
The latest 2020 schedule of events across the TAPS Family.
Other Coronavirus News
- Advice to seniors from seniors about graduating in the time of a national crisis
Across the US, graduating seniors are hearing plenty of well-worn advice from family, friends and even celebrities, whose platitudes might fall flat in -- what appear to be -- unprecedented times. Here is guidance, senior to senior, from those who graduated in the midst of epidemics, wars and the fight for equal rights.
- Here's what sports looked like during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has halted all sporting events, as well as every other large gatherings in the United States, and fans are wondering how and when games will return. It’s worth it to look back at what sports looked like during the 1918 influenza pandemic, commonly called the Spanish flu.
- Trump Promises 'Warp Speed' Coronavirus Vaccine Effort With New Program
President Trump on Friday unveiled more details of "Operation Warp Speed" – an effort to accelerate the development of a vaccine and medical treatments for the coronavirus by January.
- Keenly-watched COVID-19 vaccine 'won't be expensive', developer says
A keenly-watched COVID-19 vaccine will be priced to allow as wide as possible access to it, if it proves successful, and will be made at huge scale to keep costs down and supply up, said the Oxford University professor co-leading its development.
- Surrogate-Born Babies Wait In Ukraine Amid Coronavirus Travel Restrictions
The coronavirus pandemic has hit the global business of surrogate birthing, leaving many infants and their new parents thousands of miles apart.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.