TAPS to Travel to Australia to Participate in Invictus Games

U.S. Organization Devoted to Caring for Families of Fallen Military Will Share Best Practices With International Community

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - October 15, 2018

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) will participate in the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia from October 20-27. Since 1994, TAPS has served as the leading organization in the United States caring for the families of fallen American military heroes. In Australia, TAPS will share best practices learned from 25 years of service with countries participating in the Games.

Since World War I, American and Australian military members have served together, and their families have sacrificed together. It is the mission of TAPS to care for families of the fallen and ensure their loved ones are never forgotten. With the support of the Australian Department of Veterans’ Affairs and a generous contribution from the NFL, TAPS has the opportunity to engage and share its best practices – including its peer-based emotional support and suicide postvention models – with Australian organizations supporting the families of the fallen.

This year’s Games will attract more than 500 wounded, injured and ill servicemen and women from 18 countries to compete in 11 adaptive sports. The competition will empower the athletes to overcome their challenges and reclaim their futures, and will recognize and thank the families and friends who have supported these wounded warriors.

In the lead-up to the Games, TAPS will host a TAPS tea with surviving military families from Australia and New Zealand, as well as representatives from Australian organizations serving families of the fallen and active-duty military members. TAPS Vice President of Suicide Prevention and Postvention, Kim Ruocco, will speak at the TAPS tea and at a Family Forum hosted by the Australian Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

“TAPS is honored to be part of this year’s Invictus Games and offer support to the participating athletes and their families,” said Bonnie Carroll, TAPS President and Founder and a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. “We are grateful for the opportunity to share how we honor fallen military heroes and care for their families with this group of allied nations whose courageous athletes inspire the world.”


A TAPS delegation will arrive in Australia on October 15 in advance of the Invictus Games to share the TAPS mission and best practices with the nations competing.

Available for interviews are:

  • Kim Ruocco, TAPS Vice President of Suicide Prevention and Postvention and surviving spouse of U.S. Marine Corps Maj. John Ruocco
  • Gwen Cherne, Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs Widows, Veterans and Families Advisor and surviving spouse of Sergeant Peter J. Cafe (Australian Defense Forces)
  • U.S. Army Col. Jim Olsen, M.D. (Ret.) and his wife, TAPS Community Relations Liaison, Lis Olsen, surviving parents of U.S. Army Cpl. Toby R. Olsen
  • Diana Hosford, TAPS Vice President of Sports and Entertainment

To schedule interviews, please contact Rita Barry-Corke in Washington, D.C. at media@taps.org or +1 (860) 304-1807.

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The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is the leading U.S. organization providing compassionate care and survivor support services for the families of America’s fallen military heroes. Since 1994, TAPS has offered support to more than 80,000 survivors of fallen military in the form of 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).