TAPS to Present 2019 Senator Ted Stevens Leadership Award to Angel Pansini

Award Recognizes Young Military Survivor for Outstanding Leadership and Service to Surviving Military Families

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 19, 2019

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) will present the 2019 Senator Ted Stevens Leadership Award to Angel Pansini at its 25th Anniversary TAPS Honor Guard Gala, to be held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C on March 6, 2019. The award is presented annually to a young military survivor who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and service to other surviving military families.

Pansini, a Littleton, Colo. native, first came to TAPS at the age of 12 after losing her brother, Marine Corps Sgt. Nicholas Pansini, to suicide. As a child in the TAPS Good Grief Camp, she experienced the healing that comes from being with other grieving military children and received love and support from TAPS Military Mentors who were able to be there for her when her brother could not.

Now a junior at the University of Colorado Denver studying philosophy and linguistics, 21-year-old Pansini has used her experience to help many others. As a TAPS Legacy Mentor, she supports younger surviving military children and provides them with the invaluable guidance and care that comes from someone who truly understands.                

“Angel honors the life of her brother by remembering his service and giving back to others as she navigates her own grief journey,” said Bonnie Carroll, TAPS President and Founder and 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. “She is an outstanding example of a young person who is the living legacy of her brother. Angel is an inspiration to other young survivors and we are very proud to honor her this year with our most prestigious award.”

Sgt. Nicholas Pansini served four years, was assigned to 5th ANGLICO, USMC, and deployed twice to Iraq. Angel’s fondest memories of her brother are his wonderful hugs, which she now shares with the children she mentors at TAPS Good Grief Camps.

In addition to serving as a TAPS Legacy Mentor, Angel has honored the memory of her brother through speaking out about coping with suicide loss and inspiring others through her articles written for the TAPS Magazine and The Washington Post. She has also interned with TAPS to share hope with her peers and appeared in a video for veterans struggling with suicidal thoughts. Pansini says these experiences have shown her the power of connecting with others through shared experiences to find meaning and purpose in life.

“It is nearly impossible to reflect on who I am without mentioning TAPS,” said Pansini. “I came to the organization at the pivotal age of twelve, and in learning the tools to help me navigate grief, I also found my strongest assets. The more I write about my grief, and the more I interact with the stories of other survivors, the more I find myself appreciating language. Speech and writing are the catalyst to make immortal my brother’s memory. I am proud of what I have done with TAPS and humbled by what I will continue to do to honor my brother and the young survivors I mentor.”

Senator Ted Stevens, the namesake of the award Pansini will receive, left behind a legacy of caring for the families of our nation’s fallen military heroes. Following the Army National Guard plane crash in 1992 that took the life of his friend, Army Brig. Gen. Tom Carroll, Stevens helped Bonnie Carroll found TAPS as the national nonprofit organization caring for all those grieving the loss of a military loved one.

The late senator understood firsthand the toll traumatic and sudden loss can take on a family. His first wife, Ann Cherrington, and four others were killed in a 1978 plane crash which Stevens survived. Earlier in his life, Stevens served as an Army aviator in World War II and was a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross. In 2010, Stevens was killed in a plane crash in Alaska, and TAPS continues to honor his legacy through giving this Leadership Award annually in his name.

Funds raised from the Gala will be used to provide critical support services to families who have suffered the loss of a loved one who served in the military. TAPS programs are based on a peer-support model and provide surviving families with unlimited grief counseling, access to community-based care, casework assistance and a 24/7 Helpline. In addition, TAPS hosts an annual National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp, regional seminars and retreats across the country, as well as special programming for suicide loss survivors. All services are provided at no cost to families.

The Legacy Sponsor of this year’s Gala is the Centene Charitable Foundation/Health Net Federal Services. The Title Sponsor is USAA, and Presenting Sponsors include BAE Systems, DynCorp International, Express Scripts, Lockheed Martin, Oshkosh Defense, Pratt & Whitney, Prudential, and Telos Corporation. For more information on this year’s event or to become a sponsor, visit taps.org/gala.

The Gala will begin with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by the dinner and program at 7 p.m. The National Building Museum is located at 440 G St. NW in Washington, D.C. Sponsorship information is available at taps.org/gala.  


Please email Rita Barry-Corke at media@taps.org or call her at O: (202) 588-8277 (TAPS), C: (860) 304-1807 to cover the 2019 TAPS Honor Guard Gala.

# # #


The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is the leading national 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 85,000 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).