The TAPS Daily - May 6, 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.
- Burn pit victims could face greater dangers from coronavirus, VA warns
Veterans Affairs officials are again warning veterans who were exposed to open-air burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan that they could face additional risks from respiratory complications related to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
- The TSA Hoarded 1.3 Million N95 Masks Even Though Airports Are Empty and It Doesn’t Need Them
TSA officials held onto unused protective masks while other agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs’ vast network of hospitals, scrounged for the personal protective equipment that doctors and nurses are dying without.
- For VE Day, Library of Congress puts WWII veterans' stories online
The library’s Veterans’ History Project announced Tuesday the launch of “End of World War II: 75th Anniversary,” an online collection of video and audio interviews with World War II veterans about their experiences and what the end of the war meant to them.
- Massachusetts boy, 7, survives coronavirus and cancer: 'It’s been a long road'
(FOX 5 DC)
A young Dedham, Massachusetts, boy who survived both cancer and a battle with the novel coronavirus received a warm welcome home late last month after he was released from Boston Children's Hospital, according to local reports.
- ‘The Last Full Measure’ director Todd Robinson on how war hero’s tale can rally US amid COVID-19
Written and directed by Todd Robinson, “The Last Full Measure” stars Samuel L. Jackson, the late Peter Fonda and Ed Harris — and tells the harrowing true story of Vietnam War hero and Medal of Honor recipient William H. Pitsenbarger, a U.S. Air Force Pararescueman (PJ) medic who personally saved over 60 men.
- Don't worry, Chesty XV is absolutely thriving in quarantine
(Task and Purpose)
A video released on Monday, created by Cpl. James Bourgeois (Chesty's handler), Gunnery Sgt. John Jackson and Lance Cpl. Allen Sanders, shows our favorite Marine going about his business — socially distanced, of course.
TAPS In the News
- Yuengling donates $50,000 to TAPS for COVID-19 Relief Efforts
D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc., America’s Oldest Brewery®, announced today it will donate $50,000 to TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) as part of its Lagers For Heroes program and to further aid the military community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Monumental Sports - Military Appreciation Month
Father of two American military officers and Washington Wizards General Manager, Tommy Sheppard, shares why TAPS is his charity of choice.
- Make Mom Feel Like a Celebrity with These Mother’s Day Gift Ideas
(NBC Los Angeles)
Staying at home this Mother's Day? Here's what celebrity gift guru Lash Fary says the stars are getting gifted and how you can get them too. TAPS For Hope bracelet featured.
- 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
- Troops Supporting Pandemic Response Should Get Hazard Pay, Senator Says
Republican Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, a retired member of the Iowa National Guard and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, has proposed that service members deployed for COVID-19 response get hazardous duty pay.
- Congress Must Act Immediately for Military Families Facing Hunger
All across America, food banks are experiencing unprecedented demand. Families struggling to put food on the table during the COVID-19 pandemic are turning to food pantries, charities and federal benefits for help as the painful reality of hunger sets in.
- Physician Anesthesiologists Urge VA to Reverse Directive Jeopardizing Veterans' Lives
The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) urges Americans to protect our nation’s Veterans by asking the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to reverse its memorandum that dismantles the successful anesthesia care team, removes physician anesthesiologists from surgery and replaces them with nurses, lowering the standard of care for Veterans and jeopardizing their lives.
- At the Urging of Reps. Gottheimer, Pascrell & Brigadier Gen. Beale, Top Bergen Hospitals Send Infectious Disease Doctors to Help Fight Outbreak in Paramus Veterans Home
Working with Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-9), and NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (NJ DMVA) Brigadier General Jemal Beale, some of the top COVID-19 experts and physicians in the country have agreed to consult with medical staff at the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home beginning today, where 98% of residents have either tested positive for COVID-19, are awaiting COVID-19 test results, or are currently hospitalized.
- Military Personnel and Veterans Can Now File Naturalization Application Online
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that U.S. service members and veterans can now file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, online.
- Lead Paint, Asbestos Mitigation Plans Fall Short in Military Family Housing, IG Finds
Military families living in 38,000 housing units owned and operated by the U.S. government face health and safety risks such as lead-based paint, asbestos, radon and contaminated drinking water because the services have failed to monitor these threatening living conditions, the Defense Department's Inspector General found.
- USTRANSCOM takes action to protect military families moving during COV
The Department of Defense, in conjunction with U.S. Transportation Command, has adopted a set of safety measures and protocols designed to protect military personnel and their families who are required to move household goods to new assignments during the coronavirus pandemic.
Grief / Trauma / Mental Health
- Taps Talks Video: Self-care Tools
This TAPS Talk with Tara Woodruff Dukes from TAPS Care Group Support discusses the natural stress responses and how we can effectively counteract them. Tara shares tips and tools, including exercises, to help with healthy stress release and stress prevention.
- CVS Health expands access to mental health services
CVS Health is expanding access to its nationwide mental health programming initiative with investments aimed at healthcare workers and essential employees to help address the growing need for emotional support services in the US amid the pandemic.
- The ominous consequences of COVID-19 for American mental health
How can Americans cope with this building mental health crisis? Amna Nawaz talks to Dr. Joshua Gordon of the National Institute of Mental Health and former Rep. Patrick Kennedy of the Kennedy Forum.
- Social support of veterans especially important during pandemic
Although social distancing and self-isolation measures have slowed the spread of COVID-19 in the United States, psychologists and advocates worry about the impact these orders have had on the most vulnerable members of society. One of those populations is those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental and physical health conditions, including military veterans.
- Commentary: Grief and loss during COVID-19
After national and worldwide tragedies related to COVID-19, the world faces a new challenge which they have never before – finding ways to mourn loved ones who passed while practicing social distancing and travel restrictions.
- A Family Member Has Died of Coronavirus. How Do I Process Grief While Stuck in Lockdown?
After a family member died of coronavirus, I asked an expert for help.
- How To Cope With The Many Types Of Grief The Pandemic Is Fostering
Dr. Kirsten Lind Seal talks about such topics as anticipatory grief, grief over loss, and grief over our own powerlessness.
- The National Institute of Mental Health needs participants for coronavirus study
Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) are looking for subjects for an online research study. The goal is to learn about how stressors related to the pandemic affect the mental health of health care workers.
- ‘Maybe your purpose isn’t on this planet’: U.S. Space Force releases recruitment video
(FOX 5 DC)
For those who dream of a future in the stars, the U.S. Space Force is calling your name.
- Immigrant Soldiers Sue to Become US Citizens, Saying DoD Broke Its Promise
Six soldiers have filed a class-action lawsuit charging that the U.S. promise of citizenship for service -- dating back to the nation's founding -- has been broken by the Pentagon's restrictive policies on naturalization.
- More than 5,000 troops positive for coronavirus as military expands testing
The total number of service members who have tested positive for COVID-19 hit 5,019 on Wednesday morning, according to the latest Defense Department data, as the military services work through a plan to strategically test asymptomatic service members according to their missions.
- Early Lessons From The U.S. Army’s Campaign To Conquer COVID-19
Based on conversations with multiple Army sources, here are some of the lessons the service has learned in the initial months of its campaign to defeat the coronavirus.
- Drug Smugglers May Have Started COVID-19 Outbreak Aboard Destroyer, SecDef Says
How a Navy destroyer operating in the Pacific picked up coronavirus cases remains a mystery, but the top defense official said this week that a drug-smuggling vessel could be to blame.
- Navy SEAL recruits resume training while social distancing
Navy SEAL recruits and their instructors are being tested for the coronavirus as the candidates in one of the military’s most grueling programs return to training with new social distancing guidelines, a top official said Tuesday.
- Telework programs at DoD could stick around after coronavirus
The coronavirus pandemic sent the Pentagon’s IT officials scrambling to prepare its workforce and network for telework. Now, as the Department of Defense begins to ponder what effective work looks like after successfully carrying out its mission during months of work from home, some changes may stick around.
- Michigan Coast Guard Mascot Promoted to Senior Chief Petty Pawfficer
A beloved member of the U.S. Coast Guard’s St. Ignace crew has advanced in the ranks thanks to her loyalty and good work.
- The VA is already reviewing plans for reopening facilities to the public amid the COVID-19 pandemic
(Task and Purpose)
The Department of Veterans Affairs is reviewing a plan for opening its facilities to the public, Secretary Robert Wilkie told The Fayetteville Observer on Monday.
- UK's 'Captain Tom' inspires campaign by 97-year-old Russian WWII veteran
(Stars and Stripes)
Inspired by 99-year-old Briton Tom Moore's multi-million pound charity walk, a Russian fellow World War II veteran has launched her own effort to gather contributions for the families of doctors and nurses who have died of COVID-19.
- 94-year-old veteran says getting his miles in now 'takes a little more ingenuity’
(Stars and Stripes)
Five days a week, Bob Gralley steps out of the Oak Crest nursing home apartment he shares with his wife, sheds his mask and goes for a run.
- U-Haul commemorates 75th anniversary with salute to WWII veterans
U-Haul began 75 years ago out of a need for many families to move their belongings after World War II so they could start a new life. A lot of people who served in that war have come to work for U-Haul over the years. U-Haul is a strong supporter of TAPS and the TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp.
- State Veterans Cemeteries to Hold virtual Memorial Day Program
The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs will hold a virtual Memorial Day program this year in place of live events at the three State Veterans Cemeteries.
- Marines donate 350 iPads so veterans at Holyoke, Chelsea soldiers’ homes can connect with families
The U.S. Marines came to the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home bearing gifts Wednesday that will allow every single veteran the ability to communicate with friends and family any time they want.
Military Family News
- ‘It’s just incredible sadness’: Family approaching 1-year anniversary of tragic loss
Matthew Burns’ 23-year-old daughter, Meaghan, was one of three Navy corpsmen killed in Portsmouth, Va., on May 4, 2019.
- Gold Star mom gets new kidney, continues work in memory of son
(The Times and Democrat)
Gold Star mother Elaine Johnson has endured the pain of losing a child, but most recently underwent another life-changing event with a kidney transplant performed on Feb. 13.
- DODEA-Pacific officials say high school graduation ceremonies will be ‘virtual’ this year
(Stars and Stripes)
With high schools for U.S. military dependents throughout the Pacific region closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, school administrators are creating “virtual graduation ceremonies” as the traditional end to the school year draws close.
- Military families benefit from “Wifi for Warriors”
(ABC Local Memphis)
One organization is bridging the gap for military families during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing internet and streaming services to members of the military.
Across the TAPS Family
- Make the Most of Time at Home: Share Your Loved One's Story
Preserve your veteran's legacy in the Library of Congress so that others will have an opportunity to learn their story.
- 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.
Other Coronavirus News
- Freebies for Nurses During COVID-19
National Nurses Week 2020 kicks off on Wednesday, May 6, which is National Nurses Day, and wraps up on Tuesday, May 12; unfortunately falling amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. During this period, many companies and restaurants are offering special deals to nurses.
- Baseball Hall of Famer Andre Dawson is now a mortician amid a pandemic
(Stars and Stripes)
Andre Dawson is seeing the effects of the coronavirus pandemic from a vantage point many sports fans would not expect of a Baseball Hall of Famer and former National League MVP. The longtime star for the Montreal Expos and Chicago Cubs has spent the past dozen years as a mortician.
- Barack, Michelle Obama to Headline YouTube Virtual Graduation Ceremony
YouTube is pumping up 2020 virtual pomp-and-circumstance circuit with a video graduation ceremony for graduates during the coronavirus pandemic. The “Dear Class of 2020” original special will feature commencement addresses delivered by former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.
- Daniel Radcliffe and other top stars are reading 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone'
Daniel Radcliffe, who famously portrayed the bespectacled wizard in all eight movies, is one of several celebrities who are reading "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" to keep us entertained while staying at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- ERs See Drop In Strokes, Heart Attacks, And Doctors Are Worried
This is the fatal fallout that U.S. doctors have feared for weeks, as they've tracked a worrying trend: As the pandemic took hold, the number of patients showing up at hospitals with serious cardiovascular emergencies such as strokes and heart attacks has shrunk dramatically.
- Photos: Animals During the Pandemic
Images of animals around the globe, both affected by, and coping with, a suddenly changed world.
- 30 Quick & Easy Desserts to Make During Quarantine
(Taste of Home)
Does quarantine have your sweet tooth calling? Satisfy your cravings with these desserts that are ready in 30 minutes or less!
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.