TAPS 25th Anniversary Honor Guard Gala Honors the Lives and Service of Fallen Military Members and Rallies Support for Surviving Families

More Than 800 Gathered at the Gala to Support All Those Grieving the Loss of a Military Loved One


ARLINGTON, Va. – Congressional representatives, senior Administration and Pentagon officials, surviving military families and supporters from the business community came together Wednesday night to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) at its annual Honor Guard Gala, held at the National Building Museum.

“Our mission has stood the test of time – a steadfast commitment to providing grieving military families with compassionate support and critical resources,” said TAPS President and Founder Bonnie Carroll as she welcomed attendees to the Gala. “Military survivors gain strength in the knowledge they, and their loved ones, will never be forgotten. Everyone coming to TAPS joins a special circle of love – a family.”

The night was filled with patriotic tributes to fallen military heroes, heartfelt words from surviving military families and remarks from generous sponsors, Congressional leaders and members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"If all I had to do tonight was say thank you, it wouldn't be enough," said Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "It is comforting to know that when we go out to do what we do, there will be TAPS to care for those left behind."

Funds raised from the Gala are used to provide critical support services to families who have suffered the loss of a loved one who served in the military. TAPS peer-based programs provide surviving military 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.

At the Gala, retired Marine Corps Capt. Kevin Penn was honored as the TAPS 2019 Military Mentor of the Year. Penn represents the thousands of active duty service members and recent veterans who volunteer each year as mentors for surviving military children at TAPS Good Grief Camps.

“As a military mentor at TAPS, we receive far more from our service than we can ever give,” Penn said upon receiving his award. “To the TAPS families here and across the globe, thank you for letting us celebrate the lives of your loved ones and share in your journeys.”

Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska presented the TAPS 2019 Senator Ted Stevens Leadership Award to Angel Pansini, surviving sister of Marine Corps Sgt. Nicholas A. Pansini, in recognition of her outstanding leadership on behalf of other military survivors.

“TAPS has given me the irreplaceable: life after tragedy,” Pansini said upon receiving her award. “I intend to continue to do the same for my mentees. I intend to continue to write, and I intend to always have upturned hands for my fellow survivors.”

The Legacy Sponsor of this year’s Gala was the Centene Charitable Foundation/Health Net Federal Services. The Title Sponsor was USAA, and Presenting Sponsors included BAE Systems, DynCorp International, Express Scripts, Lockheed Martin, Oshkosh Defense, Pratt & Whitney, Prudential, and Telos Corporation.

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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).