• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
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

  • News

    Fewer Alaskans gave to nonprofits through Pick.Click.Give

    by Associated Press on Oct 27, 9:20

    The Alaska Community Foundation says fewer people have decided to give up portions of their annual oil wealth check to support nonprofit organizations this year. Alaska’s Energy Desk reports the foundation’s Pick.Click.Give. program allows Alaskans to donate some of the money they receive from the Alaska Permanent Fund each year to hundreds of nonprofits statewide. The […]

  • News

    National Guard aims to recruit more Alaska Natives

    by Associated Press on Oct 27, 7:39

    The Army National Guard is turning its recruitment efforts to Alaska Natives as it seeks to find soldiers equipped with subsistence skills. KYUK-AM reports that the Guard is launching a three-year program that provides waivers for Alaska Natives looking to join, but who may face barriers to qualification. The pilot program relaxes requirements for the […]

  • News

    Is trick-or-treating a danger to pets? Tips to keep animals safe on Halloween

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 27, 7:07

    Halloween is a fun holiday for many families — dressing up, trick-or-treating, scary thrills. For some of our furry family members, however, the holiday can provide a number of opportunities for danger. “From decorations to holiday treats, many of the things that make Halloween fun for people can be scary and even deadly to pets,” […]

  • Sports

    Still 2 months away, Copper Basin 300 is off to a good start

    by Dave Goldman on Oct 26, 22:47

    It’s beginning to look a lot like sled dog racing season. The recent winter weather has put a spring in the step of those who organize the Copper Basin 300 sled dog race. Up to eight inches of snow fell last week in the Glennallen area, the Valley and the Copper River Basin. It was followed by frigid temperatures, ensuring the […]

  • ‘Somebody saw something’: Family of Government Hill homicide victim seeks answers

    by Daniella Rivera on Oct 26, 21:49

    As Anchorage police investigate the 28th homicide of the year, the family of 29-year-old victim Ian Alexander Bobich is making a desperate plea for help. Just before 11 p.m. on Monday, police dispatch received several calls from people in the area reporting gunshots near Elm Street and East Bluff Drive. When officers arrived, they found Bobich […]

  • Politics

    Historic US Senate debate in Barrow focuses on the Arctic

    by Rhonda McBride on Oct 26, 21:32

    Organizers billed it as the first ever U.S. Senate debate held above the Arctic Circle. Sen. Lisa Murkowski faced three challengers on the stage at the Barrow High School auditorium on Wednesday. But even before the candidates had a chance to engage, there was a distinctly different flavor to this debate, which began with a prayer […]

  • News

    Neighborhood app highlights trick-or-treating hot spots

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 26, 21:14

    Alaskans can find the best spots to trick or treat this Halloween, thanks to the online “neighborhood” Nextdoor. Nextdoor is a social media site and app that connects neighbors for things like events, yard sales, missing pets and even local crime. For Halloween, it’s promoting a treat map showing other Nextdoor users who have indicated they […]

  • Lifestyle

    Teal pumpkins raise awareness about trick-or-treaters with food allergies

    by Heather Hintze on Oct 26, 20:10

    Halloween is right around the corner and doctors are urging parents to stock up on toys—in addition to candy—to give out to trick-or-treaters. The Teal Pumpkin Project is a growing effort to raise awareness about kids with food allergies. The Alaska branch of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America hosted a painting party for children […]