Friday, August 19, 2011

T.A.P.S. - Helping the Families of America's Fallen Heroes

I recently learned about about an organization called T.A.P.S. - the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. The organization was formed in 1994 and provides support for the families of American servicemen and women who have died during their service to our country. Support is provided whether the soldier was killed in action or died from some other circumstances, such as an accident, illness, or suicide. They believe a loss is a loss and support the service member's family no matter what. Some of the programs they offer to military families include a :
  • Peer Support Network where survivors can connect, share experiences, and support each other.
  • Survivor Seminars and Good Grief Camps to aid in coping with grief.
  • An Online Community with chats, blogs, message boards, and newsletters.
  • Crisis Intervention specialists on call 24 / 7.
In addition, there are other programs and benefits offered by T.A.P.S. For more information on them and T.A.P.S., please visit or click here.

A friend of mine, Steve Mitchell, has first hand knowledge of T.A.P.S. services. I first met Steve about 3 or 4 years ago. Steve is one of the good guys. He's hard-working, professional, and a straight-shooter who looks you in the eye when he's talking to you. I've never heard him say a negative thing about anybody. In fact, he's rightly corrected me on a few occasions when I had something "un-nice" to say.  You don't see many like him anymore. I guess you could say he's "old school." In this day and time, we need more of that.

Steve's son, Captain David "Seth" Mitchell (pictured multiple times in this article), served as a pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps. Everything I've read and heard about Seth leads me to believe that he had the same good qualities as his dad - qualities that make for a great Marine. The following is Seth's bio :

Captain David “Seth” Mitchell USMC, son of Steve and Connie Mitchell and brother of Drew Mitchell, was killed in a helicopter collision while on duty in Afghanistan October 26, 2009. Captain Mitchell was stationed at Camp Pendleton, CA and was part of the Marine Corp HMLA 367 Scarface unit. Captain Mitchell piloted an AH-1 Super Cobra helicopter.

Seth Mitchell was born in Charlotte, NC and graduated from Loveland High School in Loveland, OH in 1997. One turning point in Seth’s life was getting involved with Student Venture, the high school ministry of the Campus Crusade for Christ. Seth found his spiritual compass and developed leadership skills that would serve him well in future endeavors. At Loveland High, Seth played football, ran track and was elected president of his senior class. After high school Seth enrolled at Virginia Tech and earned an ROTC scholarship after his freshman year. He pursued his dream of becoming a Marine through the ROTC program transitioning from Virginia Tech ROTC directly into the Marine Corp in 2001.

Upon graduating from OCS, Captain Mitchell was assigned to Camp LeJeune, NC. While at Camp LeJeune he served tours in Okinawa, Haiti and Iraq as part of an infantry unit. Growing up he had dreamed of becoming a pilot but did not qualify for the military aviation program due to his eyesight. After corrective eye surgery and while stationed at Camp LeJeune, Captain Mitchell pursued and achieved his private pilot’s license. Due to his determination and diligence, Captain Mitchell beat long odds and was awarded a Marine Aviation training spot after four years in the Corp. Captain Mitchell started his flight training in Pensacola, FL earning his wings in May 2007. He later qualified to fly the AH-1 Super Cobra Helicopter. Captain Mitchell had achieved and was living his dream of serving his country as a Marine aviator. Captain Mitchell loved to fly and did so during his second tour of Iraq in 2008. In very typical fashion, Captain Mitchell volunteered to report early to duty in Afghanistan to assist a unit short on manpower. 

Seth was without a doubt a hero. Steve is currently preparing for the Annual Marine Corps Marathon. He is running to honor his son and to raise funds for T.A.P.S. because he believes in the wonderful services they provide to the families of deceased soldiers. Below, Steve's tells about his run and provides a link where you can donate to T.A.P.S.

Help the Families of our Fallen Heroes

Dear friends,

Here I go again !! I am training for the 36th Annual Marine Corps Marathon on October 30, 2011. My participation in last year’s marathon proved to be not only fulfilling, but also rewarding as we raised over $12,000.00 for TAPS. Since January 2011, over 250 families have been impacted by war related deaths and countless others by non-war related deaths. TAPS provides needed help and services to those families that have lost a loved one while in service to their country.

I will be honoring my son, his colleagues that perished along side him (Capt. Eric Jones, Capt. Kyle Van De Giesen and Cpl. Gregory Fleury), and supporting our nation’s surviving military families by participating with the TAPS Run and Remember Team. At the end of this email, you will have a chance to visit my link and join Team Seth Mitchell (TSM). There are several ways you can join TSM. You can join by your thoughts and prayers for the survivors, you can join TSM and participate in the Marine Corp Marathon 10k (the 26.2 miler is full), or you can make a financial contribution to our team in Seth's memory.

TAPS stands for Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. TAPS reached out to our family after Seth died while serving in Afghanistan. The heart of TAPS is its national military survivor peer support network and its focus to support families and friends as they cope and recover. Please visit the TAPS web site at

Connie and I attended our second national seminar over the Memorial Day weekend. We continue to be touched and impressed by the entire organization. TAPS is an organization worth supporting.

Will you please sponsor me in the Marine Corps Marathon so that TAPS can continue its mission to support those impacted by the death of a loved one in the armed forces?

Steve Mitchell

Follow this link to visit my personal web page and help me in my efforts to support Tragedy Assistance for Survivors (TAPS)

My last check of Steve's fundraising page (click here) showed that his fundraising goal is $3000 and he is a little more than halfway (a little over $1600) there. Please join my wife and I in supporting Team Seth Mitchell and America's military families who have given all. It's the least we can do to say "Thank You" for protecting our freedom.

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments: