Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Elizabeth Dole Foundation, and American Red Cross have teamed up to create the Caregiver to Survivor Program
Creating a Seamless Connection for all Military Caregivers who Transition to Survivors
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 8, 2021
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), Elizabeth Dole Foundation (EDF), and American Red Cross Military and Veteran Caregiver Network (MVCN) recognized the urgent need to support caregivers who grieve the death of their military loved one. The three organizations understand that many caregivers navigate a grief journey that may have begun long before their loved one's death.
The Elizabeth Dole Foundation and the American Red Cross are known experts in supporting caregivers by providing critical resources and building communities for caregivers to support one another. TAPS is the national non-profit organization providing professional peer-based emotional support to all those grieving the death of a military loved one. The three organizations are uniquely positioned to fill the growing gap in support for survivors who were once caregivers.
“We are proud to announce our ‘Caregiver to Survivor’ program and partnership with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and the American Red Cross Military and Veteran Caregiver Network. Together, we will ensure a seamless transition and delivery of services for our nation’s military and veteran caregivers and survivors,” said Bonnie Carroll, TAPS President and Founder. "We strive to mitigate complicated grief by addressing a multitude of challenges experienced by bereaved caregivers, such as struggling with the loss of identity, changes in daily routine, and a loss of meaning and purpose in their daily life now that their loved one has passed," states Ms. Carroll.
“Through this new collaboration with TAPS and MVCN, we’re expanding our focus to ensure America’s hidden heroes are supported when their caregiving journeys come to an end,” said Steve Schwab, Elizabeth Dole Foundation CEO. “We are committed to providing community support and resources caregivers can find comfort in after losing a loved one. Alongside our partners, our number one goal is to ensure survivors know they are not alone.”
"When a caregiver’s journey changes to a survivor’s journey due to their loved one’s passing, it is vital that immediate support is made available to them,” said Melissa Comeau, American Red Cross Military and Veteran Caregiver Network (MVCN) Director. “Crossing the bridge between the roles of caregiver to survivor can be a difficult transition. MVCN is well-versed in the importance of peer support for caregivers. However, TAPS will be the gentle landing place to assist them when a caregiver becomes a survivor. We feel confident that this seamless move from MVCN to TAPS will provide our members with the loving care that is necessary for every step of their journey," added Ms. Comeau.
“Eight years ago, my husband died as a result of a service-connected illness. I was his caregiver and realized there had to be a program specifically to support all of us working to navigate both the death of our military loved one and adjust to life after caregiving,” shared Coleen Bowman, Senior Advisor, Caregiver to Survivor, surviving spouse of Army Sergeant Major Robert Bowman.
“This team recognized the growing need to create a program to bridge the gap that so many of us are living with as we transition from serving as a caregiver to mourning the death of our military loved ones as survivors.” Ms. Bowman added, “I am thankful for this program as I continue my grief journey knowing this will help survivors like myself who have lost their loved ones after serving as their caregiver.”
For more information and resources, please visit our Caregiver to Survivor webpage or contact the TAPS 24/7 helpline at 202.588.TAPS (8277).
About TAPS: 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 all those grieving the death of a military loved one through peer-based emotional support, connections with grief and trauma resources, grief seminars and retreats for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, casework assistance, connections to community-based care, online and in-person support groups and the 24/7 National Military Survivor Helpline, all at no cost to surviving families. For more information please visit TAPS.org or call 202.588.TAPS (8277).
About Elizabeth Dole Foundation: The Elizabeth Dole Foundation is the preeminent organization empowering, supporting, and honoring our nation’s 5.5 million military caregivers; the spouses, parents, family members, and friends who care for America’s wounded, ill, or injured veterans. Founded by Senator Elizabeth Dole in 2012, the Foundation adopts a comprehensive approach in its advocacy, working with leaders in the public, private, nonprofit and faith communities to recognize military caregivers’ service and promote their well-being. For more information, go to hiddenheroes.org.
About American Red Cross Military and Veteran Caregiver Network: The American Red Cross Military and Veteran Caregiver Network (MVCN) offers peer-based support, services, and connection for those providing care to service members and veterans living with wounds, illnesses, injuries, and/or aging. MVCN provides our nation’s military and veteran caregivers of all eras and at all stages of caregiving with peer support to reduce isolation and increase connection, engagement, knowledge, skills, and hope. For more information, go to the Red Cross MVCN webpage.
Media Interviews: Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.588.8277 to arrange interviews with TAPS staff and survivors.