TAPS Sibling Retreat Provides Hope and Healing in Atlanta

Participants who have lost a brother or sister in military service connect to honor their loved ones


ARLINGTON, Va. –- The Tragedy Assistance Program Survivors (TAPS) will host the siblings of America’s fallen military heroes at a retreat in Atlanta June 27-July 1. The five-day event will offer attendees the opportunity to honor their loved ones while learning tools to cope with their grief.

“The TAPS Siblings’ Retreat in Atlanta is designed to address the specific needs of a sister or brother grieving the loss of a loved one. Family members come together to participate in activities that encourage connection and help them find comfort and support in a safe space,” said TAPS Founder and President Bonnie Carroll. “Grief is an extraordinarily complex and difficult journey that no one has to make alone.”

As part of this extraordinary experience, participants will visit Stone Mountain State Park and Georgia Aquarium. On Thursday, at the Aquarium, they will have the opportunity to swim with whale sharks.

“Georgia Aquarium is honored to host TAPS siblings and have them participate in our Journey with Gentle Giants program,” said Devin Waddell, manager of dive immersion programs at Georgia Aquarium. “We are dedicated to supporting our military and military families in any way that we can. One way we can do that is providing an unforgettable and therapeutic swim experience in our 6.3-million-gallon Ocean Voyager habitat, where guests can relax and enjoy being surrounded by whale sharks and hundreds of other aquatic animals.”

Based on a peer-support model, the weekend of events will join survivors who have faced similar loss and common experiences to create lifelong bonds.

OPPORTUNITIES: Visit to Georgia Aquarium, Thursday, June 28, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 225
                           Baker St. NW, Atlanta, Ga. (Interview TAPS staff, Georgia Aquarium
                           representatives and TAPS families as they experience an adventure with the whale

FOR INTERVIEW: Rachel Hunsell of Bonnie, Ill., TAPS Retreat Staff and surviving sister of Marine Corps
                          Lance Cpl. Jonathan Kyle Price
                          Anna Keithley of Quincy, Ill., TAPS Survivor Care Team and surviving sister of Marine 
                          Corps Reserve Cpl. Robert Steinbrecher
                          Katelyn Royal of Bothell, Wash., TAPS Peer Mentor and surviving sister of Army Cpl. 
                          Jason Kessler
                          Amber Cox, Katelyn Royal’s mentee and surviving sister of Marine Corps Staff Sgt. 
                          Robert Cox
                          Devin Waddell, manager of dive immersion programs at Georgia Aquarium

Please email Rita Barry-Corke at rita@taps.org or call (202) 588-8722 (TAPS) to attend any part of the retreat or arrange interviews with TAPS staff or participants.

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).