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Whitewater rafting, canyoneering, rock climbing help grieving siblings smile, connect, grow



MOAB, Utah – Experiencing the death of a brother or sister who served in the Armed Forces changes life forever for the siblings left behind. But they can find new purpose and meaning in life after tragedy. The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is holding an adventure-style retreat for surviving siblings on September 4-6 in Moab, Utah.

The 12 attendees (6 men and 6 women) will go whitewater rafting (class 4 rapids) on Thursday, September 4. Canyoneering with repelling of up to 300 feet will be the challenge for Friday, September 5. Rock climbing activities will dominate the schedule on Saturday, September 6.  Evenings will be spent “glamping” (glamour camping) at Moab Under Canvas near Arches National Park. The event should offer exceptional opportunities for photography and videography.

TAPS retreats focus on creating new relationships with other people who have experienced the death of a loved one serving in the Armed Forces. TAPS Wilderness Adventure Retreats encourage athletic challenges and personal discovery in the great outdoors. Emotions such as fear, loss, exhilaration and endurance are explored as attendees push through physical boundaries.

Adult siblings often take on the role of caretaker or helper in grieving military families – where they assist with planning funerals, write obituaries, organize events for the family or public events honoring their sibling, respond to media inquiries about their sibling on behalf of the family, assist other family members coping with the loss, or perform other tasks related to the death of their sibling, without addressing their own needs to grieve. It takes on average 5-7 years to reach a “new normal” after suffering a traumatic loss.

Among bereavement professionals, sibling grief is often considered “disenfranchised grief” because it is not acknowledged by society – even though siblings are grieving the death of a person who shared their family of origin. They had assumed their siblings would be lifelong friends and companions, and now their family lives and futures must be re-envisioned. Surviving siblings often feel isolated and must cope with their grief alone.  TAPS retreats, an online community, online chat and other programs for bereaved siblings play an important role in assisting grieving siblings of our fallen military.

Attendees will be available to speak with media during the activities. Events are open for photography and video coverage. 

Media contact: 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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