The TAPS Daily - May 8, 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.
- VE Day Tribute - The Countess of Carnarvon at Highclere Castle
Our dear friends, the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, were set to host TAPS for V-E Day this week at Highclere Castle. Though in the end we could not be together, Lady Carnarvon shared this special message from her home to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the allied defeat of Nazi Germany. We join with all our UK friends today across the pond and across the miles in humble remembrance that, "Never have so many owed so much to so few."
- VE Day Tribute - Lt Col Ollie Ford (British Army & TAPS Military Mentor)
On this 75th anniversary of WWII's V-E Day, we celebrate the enduring bonds of friendship formed over the years between our allied nations and the common cause we still share to care for our veterans and families of the fallen.
- Celebrating the superpowers of military spouses - VAntage Point
VA appreciates the superpowers military spouses have developed during years of supporting our troops.
- The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge call Veterans on VE Day
(The Royal Family)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined veterans for a very special VE (Victory in Europe) Day party at the Royal British Legion's Mais House Care Home.
- Grit and red wine: Famous war photographer beats virus at 97
(Stars and Stripes)
As an American GI during WWII, Tony Vaccaro survived the Battle of Normandy. Now, a celebrated wartime and celebrity photographer at age 97, he is getting over a bout with COVID-19. He attributes his longevity to "blind luck, red wine" and determination.
- A Widowed Mother's Day à la COVID-19
Sunday is triggering for many. For women who long for children who have yet to materialize, for bereaved mothers, for the motherless. For widows, it is another reminder of what is gone. Of the partner that is no longer in this existence. Of the hole in your family that will never be filled.
TAPS In the News
- Yuengling donates $50K to TAPS, provides new resources to military
Yuengling is working with TAPS to donate resources to military families suffering from loss, as well as those who are impacted emotionally and financially by COVID-19, through its Lagers for Heroes program.
- 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
- Clinical Questions about COVID-19: Questions and Answers
New updates from the CDC on the novel coronavirus.
- Expanded Assistance for USAR and ARNG during COVID-19
USAR and ARNG Soldiers activated in response to COVID-19 are eligible for financial assistance from AER for basic living expenses such as rent, utilities, and food, and personal transportation costs such as car payments, auto insurance, and fuel.
- 200,000 Veterans, Troops Sign on to VA Burn Pit Registry
More than 204,000 veterans and service members have signed on to the Department of Veterans Affairs Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, VA announced Tuesday.
- As Guard, Reserve Members Face Disrupted Drill Periods, Some Call for Legal Fix
As the nation contends with another extraordinary event in the form of the coronavirus pandemic, some are once again looking to Congress to step in and provide relief to Guard and Reserve members whose careers might be at risk due to circumstances outside their control.
- Lawmakers Want To Get Americans More Relief Money. Here's What They Propose
Democrats and some Republicans are considering ways for the federal government to get money into people's pockets while the coronavirus is keeping much of the economy on ice.
- Military families caught in COVID-19 financial straits could see relief under this proposal
With thousands of military families in limbo during a virtual halt of permanent change of station moves, lawmakers introduced legislation Friday to address financial losses some families are facing.
- For veterans seeking home loans, the coronavirus economy is making things harder
While it’s important for veterans to shop for a mortgage in all economic environments, it’s especially important to do so during the current economic crisis caused by COVID-19.
- Veterans' Affairs Life Insurance
As part of our mission to serve Servicemembers, Veterans, and their families, VA provides valuable life insurance benefits to give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing your family is protected.
- Updated Army Child and Youth Fee Policy takes effect June 1, 2020
Starting June 1, 2020, the updated School Year (SY 19-20) Army Child & Youth Fee Policy will be implemented.
Grief / Trauma / Mental Health
- 7 Tips for Speaking with a Bereaved Mother
If a mother’s grief feels unimaginable to you, imagine her love instead. Though you may never learn how much it helps, your effort matters. If you’re unsure how to start, here are seven tips to try.
- Transform Catastrophic Thinking Into Purposeful Action During Times of Crisis
With so much uncertainty and seemingly everything on the line because of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, it is not uncommon to have catastrophizing thoughts. The Army Resilience Directorate offers the following information to help you turn catastrophic thinking into purposeful action.
- Mental Health Month: Now Is the Time to Support Veterans
(Make the Connection)
Whether you’re a veteran or are here for a veteran you care about; whether this is the first time or just the most recent time you’ve looked into mental health support, it doesn’t matter. Everyone’s journey starts somewhere. Now is the time.
- 7 Tips for Reducing Feelings of Isolation
Loneliness is an everyday thing, and not just in the age of ‘social distancing.’ Here are some ways to care for your physical and mental wellbeing.
- 10 Ways to Overcome Grief-Related Anxiety
Anxiety following loss is a very real, yet often overlooked symptom.
- I Study Human Touch. I’m Questioning What Our Future Will Be Like After COVID-19
As humanity struggles to cope with uncertainty, fear and trauma, one of the best tools for comfort and connection has disappeared for the single and physically isolated when we need it most.
- The Grief Cliché of the COVID Era
The reminder that my brother doesn’t have to live through this pandemic, that his family doesn’t have to worry about him now — or care for him — doesn’t make me feel better about the loss. Like most grief clichés, the statement benefits the speaker more than the bereaved.
- Military Spouse Mental Health – Who Are Our Advocates?
(We Are The Mighty)
A 2017 DOD study found that military spouses experience higher rates of stress, anxiety, depression, and unemployment than their civilian counterparts. Think about these statistics and ask: Who is advocating for the mental health of our military spouses?
- Video: Victory in Europe 75th Anniversary
Military leaders reflect on the 75th anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe.
- New Defense Department coronavirus cases trending downward
After a mid-April high that saw a one-week jump of more than 4,600 COVID-19 cases, the number of new cases among troops, dependents, civilians and contractors has been decreasing weekly, according to data released by the Defense Department on Friday.
- Contracting coronavirus won't disqualify you from serving in the military, but a hospital stay for it might
(Stars and Stripes)
Updated guidance does bar from military service individuals who require hospitalization for complications from COVID-19.
- A war at home
Army aids NYC caregivers in battle against COVID-19 stress.
- Air Force Academy starts lifting some coronavirus restrictions
(Air Force Times)
The Air Force Academy is starting to reopen some facilities and lift restrictions that were imposed to try to slow the spread of coronavirus.
- US Space Force to launch the next X-37B space plane mystery mission on May 16
The U.S. military's mysterious X-37B space plane is just 10 days away from launching on its next mission.
- This soldier who joined the military at age 58 will inspire you
(We Are The Mighty)
In 2013 — on the cusp of officially becoming a senior citizen — Dr. Frederick Lough swore in to become an active duty soldier.
- Veterans left in limbo as virus hits Nazi defeat anniversary
On Friday’s 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, talk of war is afoot again — this time against a disease that has killed at least a quarter of a million people worldwide.
- VE Day 75 years later: World War II veterans look back
As we battle a different kind of enemy in a different kind of war, TODAY’s Harry Smith talks to some men who were present for VE Day 75 years ago. “We need to be together against the virus,” one veteran says.
- About 300,000 US World War II veterans are alive 75 years after VE Day
Of the 16 million Americans who served during World War II, about 300,000 are alive in 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
- WWII veteran walks the walk for fundraising on V-E Day
Even though there were no major ceremonies across Europe, British veteran George Sutherland turned a determined walk into his own parade on Victory in Europe Day.
- Veterans Affairs lays out reopening plan for facilities
(Federal News Network)
The Department of Veterans Affairs has a new plan to eventually resume normal operations for its hospitals, cemeteries and benefits offices.
- VA's active coronavirus cases drop as leadership talks of reopening facilities
The number of active coronavirus cases among Veterans Affairs patients dropped nearly 10 percent in recent days as department officials outlined plans to reopen some hospitals for non-urgent needs and visitors in coming weeks.
- They Survived WWII and Korea. Now, at State-Run Homes, They’re Fighting for Their Lives
Across the country, families of veterans living in state-run veterans nursing homes the COVID-19 pandemic has been a nightmare -- an ongoing battle to get any news from the place their loved ones have lived for months or years. And just how many veterans are affected in 157 facilities run by the states is unknown.
- The Veteran Unemployment Rate Has Tripled Since February
The unemployment rate for the nation's veterans spiked to 11.7% in April, dramatically up from 3.8% in March and 3.5% in February.
- Pickerington veteran, 39, dies of lung cancer blamed on burn-pit exposure
(Lancaster Eagle Gazette)
A model soldier — twice named Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year by the Ohio National Guard — Heath Robinson was exposed to the smoke from burning trash pits during his year-long deployment in 2006-07.
- Former airman shot, killed by Indianapolis police
A former airman was among three shot and killed by Indianapolis police this week, according to the Associated Press.
- Judge delays start of prison time for ex-Rep. Duncan Hunter due to COVID-19
(Task and Purpose)
A federal judge on Thursday granted a request by the federal government and a lawyer for former Rep. Duncan Hunter to move his date to surrender for his prison sentence until as late as January 4, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Military Family News
- 'Adapt and Overcome': a veteran Blue Star mom hits the 'virtual' campaign trail
Life in the military prepared Jackie Gordon to run, but there’s never been an election like this.
- The Perks of PCSing: Turning a move into an adventure
(We Are The Mighty)
While PCS and other forms of military travel are put on temporary hold right now, it can still be helpful to think of ways to make some of the more stressful, and sometimes more time consuming aspects, work for you.
- Watch this Air Force couple use Zoom to celebrate their wedding
(Air Force Times)
The coronavirus didn’t stop Air Force Staff Sgt. Nicholas Smith and Erica Mosca from celebrating tying the knot last month — via Zoom.
- NCIS Warns Parents to Monitor Children’s Online Activity
Due to ongoing stay-at-home orders in effect across the country, more than 1.5 billion children increasingly rely on virtual platforms for educational purposes. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children warns that spending more time online can also leave children vulnerable to exploitation.
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 | TAPS
Learn more about access to and impacts on your government benefits during COVID-19.
- 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.
- 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.
- Centene To Invest In Critical Mental Health Resources
TAPS partner, Centene announces plans to provide mental health resources to those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including increased provider training and support, establishing "warmline" call centers and expanding access to "Mental Health First Aid."
Other Coronavirus News
- 'Best Mother's Day ever': Mom meets daughter after coming out of coma from COVID-19
A woman in New Jersey met her baby for the very first time Thursday after going into a coma while battling COVID-19.
- Gov. Andrew Cuomo merch is here and trending all over Etsy
Cuomo Couture has arrived as Gov. Andrew Cuomo builds fan base amidst coronavirus crisis.
- Death of the office
(The Economist - 1843 Magazine)
As the pandemic leaves offices around the world empty, Catherine Nixey asks what was the point of them anyway?
- Titans DB Joshua Kalu Working to Provide Meals to Nurses During Coronavirus Pandemic
Titans defensive back, Joshua Kalu, is doing his part to show nurses like his two sisters how much he appreciates them working long hours during the global health crisis. The Titans have partnered during the NFL draft with TAPS through the TAPS Sports & Entertainment Program.
- Vice President Pence Spokeswoman Tests Positive for Coronavirus
The White House on Friday confirmed a second case of coronavirus this week, now in Vice President Pence's office, as both the president and his No. 2 have recently begun traveling again.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.