TAPS Families Connect at Daytona Retreat

Men who have lost a loved one in the military gather to honor their fallen heroes,
 find hope and support


ARLINGTON, Va.–- The Tragedy Assistance Program Survivors (TAPS) will host the surviving fathers, brothers, adult children and battle buddies of America’s fallen military heroes at a retreat in Daytona Beach, Fla., April 11-15. The five-day event will be filled with healing activities that offer attendees the opportunity to honor their loved one, connect with peers and gain tools to cope with grief.

“The TAPS Retreat in Daytona will allow men to come together and participate in activities that encourage connection and bring comfort and support,” said TAPS Founder and President Bonnie Carroll. “TAPS provides support to all who are grieving by honoring their loved ones who have served and died for America. We recognize that emotional support is best delivered by peers who truly understand the grief of another, and this unique opportunity allows men mourning their military hero the chance to find hope and healing.”

During their time in Daytona, retreat participants will take part in outdoor activities that build connection and honor their loved ones during opening and closing ceremonies. They will also take part in events that allow them to create lifelong bonds with others who have experienced a similar loss.

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 75,000 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).


OPPORTUNITIES: On Thurs. April 12 and Fri. April 13 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., press may film/photograph and interview participants as they assist in building a home for Habitat for Humanity. Other opportunities include Fri. April 13 from noon to 3 p.m. during a fishing excursion at Sunglow Pier, or on Sat. April 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Daytona International Speedway.

FOR INTERVIEW: Gabriel Rao, TAPS Manager of Community Engagement, and surviving
                           brother of Army Sgt. Elijah John Miles Rao, who died Dec. 5, 2009 in Afghanistan.
                           Don Lipstein, TAPS Survivor Care Team, and surviving father of Navy MA2 Joshua
                           Lipstein, who died by suicide on March 15, 2011.
                           Frank Buoniconti, TAPS Peer Mentor and surviving father of Army CW3 Frank
                           Buoniconti, who died on Dec. 12, 2011 in an aviation accident.

Please contact Rita Barry-Corke at rita@taps.org, or call 202-470-5702 to cover any part of the retreat or arrange interviews with TAPS staff or surviving families.