VFW Names TAPS Founder and President Recipient of 2017 Citizenship Award

Bonnie Carroll Accepts Recognition for Spirit of Service to the Nation


ARLINGTON, Va. Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) President and Founder Bonnie Carroll accepted the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) 2017 James E. Van Zandt Citizenship Award yesterday at the organization’s 118th annual convention in New Orleans.

Presented by Bryan Duffy, VFW’s Commander-in-Chief, the award recognizes significant contributions to the spirit of service and dedication to the nation that inspires us to display better citizenship. It is one of 11 awards presented annually at the organization’s national convention.

According to the award citation, “her dedication in offering hope and healing to the families of veterans who have fallen in service to our country has justly earned her the utmost admiration, respect and gratitude of Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.”

Carroll, who is also a veteran, founded TAPS in 1994, at a time when there was no national support network for the families of America's fallen military heroes. Through the loss of her husband, Brig. Gen. Tom Carroll, who perished in an Army plane crash in 1992 along with seven other soldiers, Bonnie turned her tragedy into a purposeful effort to create what is today the major national organization providing compassionate care for all who are grieving the death of a service member.

“It was the inspiration of organizations like the VFW that let me know it was possible to bring a community together to provide hope to others, and give inspiration,” said Carroll. “What you all know, and I learned, is that it is best done by those walking that journey.”

“On behalf of the surviving families of America’s fallen heroes, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Carroll also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2015 along with many other professional honors. TAPS has been nationally recognized, including being awarded the Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Distinguished Civilian Humanitarian Service Award by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America’s fallen military heroes and has offered support to more than 70,000 surviving family members of our fallen military and their caregivers since 1994. TAPS provides peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, grief seminars and retreats for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, case work assistance, connections to community-based care, online and in-person support groups and a 24/7 resource and information helpline for all who have been affected by a death in the Armed Forces. Services are provided free of charge. For more information go to www.taps.org or call the toll-free TAPS resource and information helpline at 1.800.959.TAPS (8277).


Email christine.fuentes@taps.org or call 540.219.5636 to arrange an interview.