The TAPS Daily - September 16, 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.
- First Checks for Troops Go Out Under Trump's Controversial Payroll Tax Deferral Plan
Most service members and DoD civilians received their first paychecks with a higher take-home total, thanks to a temporary payroll tax deferral plan rolled out by the White House.
- CDC Director: COVID-19 Vaccine Access Unlikely Before Next Year
Top Trump administration health officials testified a vaccine for COVID-19 is not likely to be widely available until next spring or summer.
- High School Closures During Pandemic Could Harm Military Recruiting Goals, General Says
The historic closures of schools across the country during the coronavirus pandemic has military leaders bracing for challenges in meeting next year's recruiting mark.
- TRICARE Emergency Procedures due to Current Natural Disasters
TRICARE has expanded authorized emergency prescription refills in areas impacted by West Coast wildfires and Hurricane Sally.
- Social worker embarks on 50-state tour to mow lawns for veterans, Gold Star families
(We Are The Mighty)
This man plans to cut the grass of veterans, Gold Star families, Purple Heart recipients, POWs, those missing in action and families of active-duty service members in all 50 states.
- Smoke from west coast wildfires has drifted to New York and Washington, D.C.
Unprecedented fires have burned some 4.5m acres and smoke has made west coast air quality among the worst in the world.
- Hurricane Sally Drops 'Incredible Rainfall Totals' On Alabama And Florida
Hurricane Sally brought 100 mph winds and threat of historic flooding to parts of Alabama and Florida on Wednesday morning, after making landfall as a Category 2 storm.
Suicide Prevention Awareness Month News
- Trump, Biden offer detailed breakdown of their military and veterans plans
In responses to a MOAA questionnaire the presidential candidates promised a strong focus on military and veterans issues but varied approaches to goals of helping troops and families.
- The Air Force has Taken a Tacticle Pause to Address Their Suicide Challenge
(Task & Purpose)
To meet the challenge, Chief of Staff General Brown said the Air Force has developed a playbook for leaders and are pushing mental health telemedicine.
- House and Senate committees compromise on veterans suicide prevention bill
(Task & Purpose)
The House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees agreed on veteran suicide prevention legislation that would provide grants to charities and other non-governmental organizations focused on mental health and ensure veterans have access to care during mental health crises.
- The Survivor - ‘Old Guard’ Soldier beats suicide with treatment, support from others
(Fort Lee Traveler)
A member of the US Army’s “The Old Guard”, overcame her battle with suicide with the love, support and acceptance of leadership and comrades and by seeking mental health treatment.
- The Importance of Self-Care
As we take action to support others through difficult times, it’s also vital we take time to support and care for ourselves. This page shares tips and resources to help you practice self-care.
- Connect to Protect: Suicide Prevention Month
(Robins Air Force Base)
If we stay connected and observant, we may be able to catch warning signs of distress – the cries for help that a suicidal person wants and needs someone to notice and intervene. We can use those warning signs as opportunities to get involved early and prevent a death.
- New National Campaign Reveals How Safe Firearm Storage Can Help Prevent Suicide
Unprecedented surge in gun sales and mental health challenges amid COVID-19 led Brady and the Ad Council to release a new PSA on how safe firearm storage helps prevent suicide.
- Algorithms Help Spot Possible Suicidal Intent Among Veterans’ Social Posts
A social media platform designed for the military community is now equipped with a learning model that can rapidly review public posts and pinpoint those that indicate a risk of self-harm.
TAPS In the News
- We're All in This Together - COVID-19 Resources for American Public
Resources and support to help anyone facing the impacts of COVID-19.
- TAPS News Archive
Catch up on all the TAPS news stories over the years on the TAPS media resource page.
Government Relations / Benefits
- Another state adds online absentee voting option for military and overseas U.S. citizens
Thousands of military and overseas citizens voting by absentee ballot in South Carolina will for the first time be able to cast their ballot through an online portal.
- Jon Stewart outlines defense firm tax for veterans' care
Comedian Jon Stewart said military veterans who were exposed to toxic environments are getting the same “cold shoulder” as 9/11 responders did for coverage of their health care costs.
- Army Proposes Limiting Retiree Burials in Arlington National Cemetery
The Army is proposing limiting the number of burials in Arlington National Cemetery, and retirees may be the first to be affected.
- 'Enough Is Enough:' Lawmakers Push for Drastic Changes After Vanessa Guillen Murder
Lawmakers introduced a bill that would dramatically reform how the military reports, investigates and prosecutes sexual assault and harassment in honor of Spc. Vanessa Guillen.
- Bill Would Clear the Way for Army Legend Alwyn Cashe to Receive Medal of Honor
A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced a bill that would clear away the remaining legal hurdles to award fallen Iraq War hero Alwyn Cashe the nation's highest military honor.
Grief / Mental Health / Wellness
- How to help kids cope with anxiety and stress from wildfires and ongoing coronavirus crisis
Practical advice for families trying to handle compounding disasters.
- Online Grief Support Specialist class trains global learners in loss and healing
In-depth class centers on how to counsel people who have suffered major loss and gives students skills to develop a professional specialty in the growing field of grief support.
- 6 ways to relieve stress naturally
A first step to combating stress is to try and identify the cause. But even if your stress is caused by something you can't eliminate, here are ways you can cope and manage it.
- Non-profit band keeps the music alive for Miami seniors facing isolation during the pandemic
Since June, the non-profit has traveled around metro Miami putting on socially distanced concerts for low-income seniors.
- U.S. service members battling racism in the ranks report a high barrier to justice
(Task & Purpose)
As America confronts the question of systemic racial injustice, the U.S. military, which has long promoted itself as an egalitarian system focused on merit and achievement, is undergoing its own moment of reckoning.
- A 29-year-old Marine is dying of a rare brain cancer. Burn pits caused it, his family says.
Tumors of the brain, pineal, pituitary glands, and spine have affected a young Marine’s nervous system and left him blind. His family say his burn-pit exposure while deployed is to blame.
- When Coronavirus Sidelined 18 Members of a Coast Guard Cutter Crew, Cadets Stepped In
When 18 crew members on the Coast Guard cutter Munro were sidelined by the coronavirus, the ship's commanding officer, Captain Blake Novak, turned to the Coast Guard Academy.
- Naval Academy Reports at Least 14 Coronavirus Cases Among Midshipmen, Staff in a Month
At least 14 members of the Naval Academy community have tested positive for the coronavirus causing COVID-19 in the last four weeks, according to percentages provided by the academy.
- Air Force Staff Sergeant Is 2nd to Die in Kuwait Vehicle Accident This Month
In the space of 72 hours, two airmen deployed to Kuwait have died in separate vehicle mishaps.
- Report: Exact cause of Air Force commando swim death still unknown
(Task & Purpose)
A 24-year-old Airman who died during a 2,000-yard swim during a training accident at a Navy facility in Panama City "determined the cause of death was accidental drowning.”.
- Navy Veteran Could Lose His Home in Dispute over a Flagpole
A Navy veteran who installed a pole in his yard to fly the American flag is now in danger of losing his home because of it.
- Palliative and hospice care staff lift Veterans’ spirits with “Silver Lining Stories”
(We Are The Mighty)
A VA program office recently created an opportunity for employees and staff members to share uplifting stories with one another.
- A veteran in recovery is using his home to help other struggling vets find peace and sanctuary
(Task & Purpose)
Unlike most Habitat homeowners who use their fixed-up properties for themselves and family, this Air Force veteran decided to share his home with veterans like himself.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.