TAPS organization provides safe environment for military families coping with loss

CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. (KABC) -- ABC7 Salutes a non-profit that honors loved ones who died while serving our nation: TAPS, which stands for Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

The organization provides a safe and nurturing environment for parents and children trying to cope with the sudden loss of a family member. It's a heartbreaking reality many military families face when learning to live without their loved one.

"Our son Brian served in the 10th mountain division and was killed in Afghanistan in 2009, first week he was in Afghanistan as a matter of fact," said Chris Wolverton. "It's been a tough road for us, but coming here to TAPS has really helped us cope with his loss a lot."

Chris and Miriam Wolverton are among the 300 family members taking part in the Western Regional Military Survivor Seminar put on by TAPS.

"TAPS does a fantastic job of creating these weekends for families to come together in a beautiful setting like this, honoring their loved ones, remember the lives lived," said Bonnie Carroll, TAPS president and founder.

Carroll founded TAPS in 1994 after her husband Tom died with several soldiers in a plane crash. The three-day event held at Pacific Palms Resort One in the City of Industry includes workshops where families of all ages try to heal.

"What the book describes is how kids go through emotions and how they come and go and they hit hard and sometimes they roll in slow and sometimes we have a riptide that we need some saving somebody to help us," said Victoria Friend, TAPS counselor.

"One thing very important to remember those they left behind, and it's a part of knowing them, it's also knowing somebody like myself who had been without a parent for an important part of my life growing up," said Bryan Keys, TAPS Good Grief Camp mentor.

"Makes me feel like I'm not alone; there are many families in the same boat," said Miriam Wolverton.

MORE ABC7 SALUTES | Nonprofit helps veterans in LA navigate services
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The nonprofit Village for Vets was created to help homeless and at-risk veterans in Los Angeles access a wide range of support services, making sure they don't fall through the cracks.

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