The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) offers compassionate care to all those grieving the loss of a loved one who died while serving in our Armed Forces or as a result of his or her service.
It was the evening of November 5, 1998. Second Lieutenant Kelly Hall, an army aviation pilot, had just finished unpacking the last box. He and his wife, Shelly, along with their five small children were just settling in to their "new" home in Wiesbaden, Germany. The following morning he was scheduled for his final training mission before deploying to Bosnia. He left at 6:30 AM and agreed to meet Shelly at noon to help get the five kids through their dental checkups. But he never showed up. Shelly finally drove to the flight line at 3 PM and went up to Flight OPS where she overheard the warrant officer calling for a safety team. The unthinkable had happened. Kelly's plane had gone down, with no survivors.
Shelly was left alone with her heartbreaking grief and the sole responsibility for five children, the oldest of whom was six. Within six days she packed and flew "home" with the children for Kelly's burial in Michigan. But for the next nine excruciating months she searched for someone who had walked this road before her, someone who could help her as she navigated a lonely new life. Shelly finally found TAPS; the nonprofit organization that works alongside the military to provide support for bereaved military families. It is her hope that others won't have to wait so long to find the help and emotional support they so desperately need in the aftermath of a tragic death.