• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
News Alert: Latest updates on McHugh Fire - Read More
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 3s

Families of fallen soldiers travel to Alaska to heal

By KTVA Alaska 7:57 PM February 27, 2014

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors helps mourning military families grieve and move forward

GIRDWOOD - Four Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson soldiers have died this month. For each of their families, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors is there to offer support.

“When that casualty officer knocks on the door, family is told they will not be alone, that there will be support and comfort and care, that TAPS will be there for them,” said TAPS founder and president Bonnie Carroll. ”Today, out of that humble beginning in Anchorage, Alaska, TAPS now has 50,000 family members that rely on our support and care.”

About 50 people from all across the nation gathered at Alyeska Resort Thursday for igloo building, snowshoeing and dog sledding as a way to work through their grief.

“There’s so much healing there and they meet so many people that are going through the same thing,” said Shirley Quickley-Green.

Quickley-Green of Richmond, Va., has one thing in common with the 50 others gathered at Alyeska Resort by TAPS. Loss. Her son, Army Specialist James Elliott Quickley, died in December 2005. Since then, she’s run marathons, attended retreats and reached out to help others grieving though TAPS.

“For these four days, for these parents from all over America who are grieving a fallen hero,” Carroll said. “The opportunity to take off that body armor and just be — to hug, to laugh, to cry, to share — is extraordinary.”

Everyone gathered at the TAPS retreat in Girdwood is a survivor who has lost a child, parent, sibling or spouse serving our nation’s military.

But instead of wallowing in their grief, they’re using recreational therapy to work through it.

“We’re sharing our loved ones and the memories and everybody knows what you’re going through, so yeah, it’s really special,” said Patti Kenner, mother of fallen Marine Sgt. Kenneth Daniel Reich. ”I thank God for Bonnie every day.”

TAPS was born through Bonnie Carroll’s personal tragedy here in Alaska. Carroll lost both her father and her husband who served our nation’s military.

“My husband, Brig. Gen. Tom Carroll was killed in a National Guard plane crash here in 1992,” Carroll said. “From his loss, TAPS was born.”

While tears and sadness are welcome without judgment, it was joy and laughter commemorating the sacrifice and service of our fallen heroes at the TAPS retreat today.

“There’s nothing more healing than just to meet another person, to know that you’re not alone, that you’re not going crazy, that there is support and comfort and care,” Carroll said.

Latest Stories

  • Lifestyle

    US launches system to keep drones away from wildfires

    by Keith Ridler / AP on Jul 25, 12:09

    Federal authorities say they’ve launched the first national system intended to prevent hobby drones from interfering with planes and helicopters fighting wildfires. The U.S. Interior Department announced the kickoff of the pilot project Monday. It uses smartphone apps already on the market to quickly alert drone fliers to temporary flight restrictions over wildfires. Officials say […]

  • News

    Hundreds gather to bury final slain Baton Rouge officer

    by on Jul 25, 11:45

    BATON ROUGE, La. - Hundreds of law enforcement officers from around the country streamed past the casket Monday of a slain Baton Rouge police officer, some solemnly saluting and others making the sign of the cross as they paid their respects and mourned one of their own. There were so many people who tried to attend […]

  • DayBreak

    Story Time w/ Aunt Phil: William Seward’s Alaska arrival

    by Daybreak Staff on Jul 25, 11:43

    This week in 1869, William Seward arrived in Alaska for the first time. His trip came two years after negotiating its purchase from Russia. Author Laurel Downing Bill told Daybreak about the former secretary of state and his love of Alaska Native people and their art. She also recounts the tale of how Seward almost […]

  • News

    McHugh Fire 35 percent contained, 778 acres burning

    by KTVA 11 News on Jul 25, 11:06

      Lower 48 Hotshot crews are expected to head out of Alaska Tuesday, to fight higher priority wildfires in California, after progress was made on the McHugh Fire over the weekend, incident commander Tom Kurth said during a Monday morning press briefing. According to Kurth, the fire burning just south of Anchorage is 35 percent […]

  • Politics

    Former DNC leader Wasserman Schultz won’t gavel convention open

    by Associated Press on Jul 25, 10:41

    Outgoing Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman says she won’t gavel her party’s national convention to order on Monday afternoon. She abruptly cancelled that plan just a few hours before she was to gavel open the nominating convention. In a brief phone conversation with the Sun Sentinel newspaper of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Wasserman Schultz said: […]

  • News

    2 dead, almost 20 injured in Florida teen club party shooting

    by CBS News on Jul 25, 8:35

    Last Updated Jul 25, 2016 10:48 AM EDT FORT MYERS, Fla. - At least two people were killed and nearly 20 total were injured in a mass shooting during a party for teenagers at a Florida nightclub early Monday morning. CBS Fort Myers affiliate WINK-TV reports the incident at Club Blu in Fort Myers happened around 12:30 […]

  • News

    Hiker missing in Denali National Park found after search

    by Associated Press on Jul 25, 7:29

    A missing hiker has been found in good condition after a two-day search at Denali National Park and Preserve. A helicopter crew spotted the 42-year-old hiker Sunday night about six miles from where he was last seen Friday. Park officials identified him as Mukunda Egen from California, who is seasonally employed in the area. No […]

  • Weather

    Officials warn ‘imminent’ flooding may occur after steady rain along Matanuska River

    by KTVA 11 News on Jul 25, 6:14

    After three days of rainfall along the Matanuska River, emergency officials are preparing for “imminent” flooding. Portions of the bank began to show signs of breeching Sunday between the Maude Road Extension and Mile 15 and Mile 13 of the Old Glenn Highway, according to a release from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Department of Emergency Services. There is no […]