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Iditarod Mushers to Honor Fallen Soldiers and Military Widows

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TAPS widows to be recognized at the "Last Great Race"

One hundred military widows will be in Anchorage this week to be honored at the 38th annual Iditarod.

As the widows look on, six mushers - including two Iditarod champions - will carry ribbons with names of military members who have lost their lives in service to their country.

The widows are attending the 2010 TAPS National Military Widow Gathering March 3-7.  The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) has its roots in Alaska; the peer-to-peer support organization was founded by Bonnie Carroll after the death of her husband - Alaska Army National Guard Brigadier General Tom Carroll - in a military aircraft crash in November 1992.

"This gathering will allow those grieving the death of their military spouse to take part in healing experiences with peers who understand their journey," said Carroll.

"Many widows have lost the one person who was there to enjoy outdoor activities and adventure travel with them.  Coming to Alaska for the 2010 TAPS National Military Widow Gathering will give these young women a safe environment in which they can make new memories and find hope and healing."

Since the death of her husband, Mrs. Carroll has grown TAPS into a national network with over 25,000 surviving family members, providing emotional support and care following the death of a loved one serving in the armed forces.

The Alaska gathering offers attendees an exciting adventure and the chance to meet other military surviving spouses.  Through the generosity of local companies, funds were raised to support lodging, meals and
activities (including, skiing, snowshoeing and dog-sledding) for the military
widows.

Year-round, TAPS offers peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, seminars and "Good Grief Camps" for children, case work assistance, and 24/7 crisis intervention care for anyone who has been
affected by a death in the Armed Forces.

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