TAPS Helps Families Of The Fallen Heal | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

TAPS Helps Families Of The Fallen Heal

Play associated audio
Belle is one of the many therapy dogs that helps comfort the families of the fallen.
WAMU/Armando Trull
Belle is one of the many therapy dogs that helps comfort the families of the fallen.

The nineteenth annual Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is underway this Memorial Day Weekend, and some 2,200 volunteers and family members of fallen servicemen and women are participating in a series of activities to promote healing.

Carol Hilton, from Chesapeake, Virginia, lost her husband, Navy Lt. Lawrence Hilton, in 2004. She and her daughters began attending TAPS seven years ago. “It’s really been helpful for our own healing because we’ve been able to see the progression of how our attitudes and feelings have changed from year one to year seven," she says.

There are sessions for the children of the fallen called “Good Grief Camp.” Katie Hilton, 18, says that they help her handle her loss. “These friendships that we make over this weekend can actually last quite a long time, it’s like a family reunion and I love it.”

Her twelve-year-old sister, Laura, comforts the peers she meets at TAPS. “I tell them about my story and that it will be better soon and they’ll get through it," she says.

One of the most beloved and popular participants of TAPS is Belle, a golden retriever, who is one of the therapy dogs on hand to greet attendees. Lisa Dolan lives in Alexandria and owns the loving animal. “Belle started coming to TAPS when she was four months old, I bred and raised her for this," she says.

Dolan lost her husband in 2001 and says that was her motivation for returning to TAPS with Belle. “Some of the children who come here for the first time are very scared to be here and don’t know what to expect, and sometimes the very first thing to greet them is Belle and her big wet nose and it makes them feel comfortable and at home.”

TAPS runs the entire Memorial Day Weekend.

NPR

'Welcome To Braggsville' Isn't Quite 'Invisible Man,' But It's Close

T. Geronimo Johnson's latest follows four Berkeley students who take an American history class that leads to disaster. It's an ambitious book about race that wants to say something big about America.
NPR

Why Shark Finning Bans Aren't Keeping Sharks Off The Plate (Yet)

Fewer shark fins are being imported into Hong Kong, the epicenter of shark-fin soup, a culinary delicacy. But while the trade in shark fins may be down, the trade in shark meat is still going strong.
NPR

Clinton Foundation Funding Woes Touch Hillary, Too

With Clinton potentially prepping for a presidential run, her role in the Clinton Foundation raises questions about big contributions from foreign governments, corporations and individuals.
NPR

FAA Is Trying To Keep Hackers Out Of Air Traffic Control, Official Says

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta tells a House panel that some vulnerabilities reported in a congressional study have been fixed, and the agency is working on others.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.