National nonprofit helps provide healing for hundreds of families who’ve lost service members

TAPS aims to provide comfort and hope to families grieving the loss of a fallen service member.

SAN ANTONIO – A national nonprofit organization is helping military families learn to navigate their grief while remembering and honoring their loved ones.

It’s a healing process connecting the families of fallen heroes to a weekend of hope and healing.

Bonnie Carroll is the president and founder of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and knows the pain of loss.

“My husband and seven other soldiers were killed in an army plane crash, and at that time there was no national support organization for all of us who were devastated by the loss of a loved one,” said Carroll.

So, she turned grief into action, establishing the tragedy assistance program for survivors in 1994.

The mission of TAPS is to provide comfort and hope to families grieving the loss of a fallen service member.

“Military loss is unique, it is a different culture and for all of us to have the opportunity to come together in this safe space, to find resources and support, and to know that we are not alone in our grief and help each other heal is incredibly powerful,” said Carroll.

On Sunday, about 500 families came together to find support from their peers and learn how to manage their grief all while honoring their military loved ones.

“So, in 2012 after my deployment, I was looking for resources for my son at the time when my husband passed in Iraq. He was only 14 months and didn’t realize I was also looking for resources for myself and that’s how I found TAPS,” Lesliee Jazmine Ojeda, a survivor, said.

In 2021, more than over 135,000 families connected with the assistance program. They said 25 new survivors connect with TAPS each day, with more than over 15,000 calls to the 24/7 helpline.

“I’m just happy to be here this weekend, be able to provide that support for our families, that support that was life-changing for my family, and every time I leave here, I leave knowing we’ve built a bigger family,” Carroll said.

One by one, broken hearts are connected to a healing place with TAPS, which reminds anyone grieving the loss of a fallen hero to know there is help available.

For more information, visit

About the Authors

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He’s a bilingual award-winning news reporter and he joined KSAT in 2021. Before coming to San Antonio, Cotto was reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He’s a veteran of the United States Navy.

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