Families of America’s Fallen Military Heroes to Connect at TAPS Alaska Widows’ Retreat

Surviving spouses, fiancées and significant others 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 for Survivors (TAPS) will welcome women grieving the loss of a spouse, fiancée or significant other in the military to its Alaska Widows’ Retreat Feb. 28-March 4.

The TAPS Alaska Widows’ Retreat combines physical activity and quiet moments of reflection to help nearly 40 widows and significant others as they move toward hope and healing. Throughout the event, participants connect with each other through activities, and experience the support that comes from shared loss.

“Since 2009, TAPS has invited groups of military survivors here to Alaska for healing retreats because we understand how transformative the Great Land can be,” said TAPS President and Founder Bonnie Carroll. “Grief is an extraordinarily complex and difficult journey, but no one has to travel this road alone. Just as the Iditarod challenges mushers to face unimaginable odds on an often impassable trail, our young military widows are inspired by the strength they draw from this retreat and being with others on a shared journey. The TAPS Alaska Widows’ Retreat allows surviving spouses, fiancées and significant others to come together and participate in activities that encourage connection and help them find comfort and support.”

OPPORTUNITIES:    Saturday, March 3 from 8:30 a.m. to noon, near the start of the  
-- Interview surviving wives, fiancées and significant others as they make
                              new memories, remember their loved ones and connect with each other while
                              exploring downtown Anchorage.


FOR INTERVIEW:  Bonnie Carroll, TAPS President and Founder and Anchorage native.
                           Kyle Harper, TAPS Vice President of Survivor Health and Wellness, and surviving 
                          fiancée of Army Staff Sgt. Michael Hullender, who died in Iraq on April 28, 2007.
                           Macarena Cardenaz, of Chula Vista, Calif., and surviving wife of Army Staff Sgt. 
                           Michael David Prieto-Cardenaz, who died in Afghanistan on Feb. 20, 2010.
                           Crystal Cook, of Ben Lomond, Calif., and ex-wife of Air Force veteran Staff Sgt. 
                           James Cook II, who died on April 19, 2014 of an illness.
                           Athena Trujillo, of Columbia, Md., and surviving wife of Army Sgt. Dennis Trujillo, 
                           who died on May 27, 2013 in an accident.

Please email Christine Fuentes at christine.fuentes@taps.org or call 540-905-8448 to attend any part of the retreat or arrange interviews with TAPS staff or survivors.

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).