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Retreat Helps Military Widows Have Fun Again, Build Supportive Bonds, Know They Are Not Alone
44 Widows to Participate in Big Wildlife Runs on Sunday to Honor Fallen Husbands, Fiancés


ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Forty-four military widows from throughout the United States will attend the TAPS Alaska Widows Retreat, being held August 14-18 in Anchorage. They will build new connections with others who have experienced a similar loss and re-capture a sense of fun and adventure that may have been lost when their loved ones died. 

Many lost their husbands or fiancés in Iraq or Afghanistan and some lost their spouses to suicide, sudden illness or accidents. The nonprofit organization hosting the retreat, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), has a special tie to Alaska, because TAPS was founded in Alaska in 1994 by military widow Bonnie Carroll following a 1992 military plane crash. Media opportunities are as follows: 

Friday, August 15, 11:00am-5:00pm: gold panning, canyoneering

Saturday, August 16, 12:00pm-5:00pm: Big Wildlife Game Park/Hike 

Sunday, August 17, 9:00am-3:00pm: 44 widows and widowed fiancés walk and run in the Big Wildlife Runs to honor and remember their fallen husbands and fiancés who died while serving in the military 

On average, it takes 5-7 years for people experiencing the traumatic death of a loved one to reach a “new normal” and the impact of a military death lasts for a lifetime. Being able to talk with others who have experienced a similar loss helps military widows and fiancés process their experiences, realize they are not alone and establish support networks.

How TAPS Helps People Grieving the Death of a Spouse or Fiancé Serving in the Military
TAPS retreat programs are designed to help survivors connect with others with a similar loss and step out of their comfort zones while away from the stresses of daily responsibilities. Participants often re-discover their ability to laugh again while alongside others who have experienced a similar loss.

TAPS offers many additional services and programs to help grieving widows and fiancés of our fallen troops.  The TAPS peer mentoring program pairs survivors with others who have experienced a similar loss who listen and support their grief journeys.

TAPS care groups offer localized in-person support and many widows ask TAPS to help them connect with grief counseling or grief support groups where they live. Online support groups and chat sessions help survivors connect online too. 

Bereaved spouses and fiancés attend other TAPS seminars and programs around the country for help and support. They receive the quarterly TAPS magazine and other grief resources, and they can request casualty casework assistance, as well as seek help 24/7 from the TAPS resource and information helpline 1-800-959-TAPS (8277). 

MEDIA COVERAGE INVITED:  Many widows and other survivors of our fallen military view being able to share about their loved one as a way to honor and celebrate their lives. TAPS founder Bonnie Carroll, who lost her husband, Army Brigadier General Tom Carroll, in a military plane crash in Alaska in 1992 will attend the retreat and be available for media interviews.

MEDIA CONTACT(RSVP IS REQUESTED): Ami Neiberger-Miller, 202.588.8277,

About TAPS
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 50,000 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 or call the toll-free TAPS resource and information helpline at 1.800.959.TAPS (8277). 

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