Military Connection Joins Forces With Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors to Host Camp Pendleton Family Reunion

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Weekend event at Camp Pendleton, CA welcomed back those grieving the loss of a service member for a special program of comfort and support.

On Sunday, September 14, 2014, there was a day of hope, healing, and fun in the sun at Camp Pendleton's Del Mar Beach, hosted by Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS).

Assisting TAPS in putting on this first ever “Family Reunion,” Military Connection CEO Debbie Gregory invited her friends at Southwest Airlines and the Vietnam Veterans of Orange County to join in. These two organizations have a rich history of supporting families of the fallen.

Attendees were able to bond with others through shared activities such as beach volleyball, or they could just enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the beautiful beach setting. There was also music in the air for the entire event, thanks to Rudy Cervantes of Heavenly Trumpet Ministries and ukulele enthusiast Brandon Cruz.

“It was an honor to attend this event, and a great way to show support for the families of the fallen,” said Military Connection CEO Debbie Gregory. “At Military Connection, we are proud to work closely with TAPS. We congratulate TAPS, and founder Bonnie Carroll, on 20 years of support for the surviving loved ones of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country.”

The day began with the Heroes Potluck lunch. There were hamburgers, hot dogs, and veggie burgers provided by Southwest Airlines. As a special touch, attendees were encouraged to bring a signature family dish or their hero's favorite food. After lunch, the children in attendance were paired with mentors from Camp Pendleton for a Good Grief Camp. Their afternoon was filled with activities, games, fun and camaraderie.

The unfurling of a massive U.S. flag, held at the same time by everyone there, was a magical moment that connected all of those in attendance. Everyone agreed that they could feel the support, comradery, and sense of community.

The day ended with a Mexican food dinner co-sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans of Orange County, and a special sunset remembrance ceremony.

Southwest Airline’s Roy White, an avid supporter of the families of the fallen, is owed a huge debt of gratitude for helping bring everyone together. Additional gratitude goes out to Barbara Pellegrino, Emily Munoz, Greg Young, and Bill “Gunny Mims” Mimiaga, who were also instrumental in making the day happen. Last, but not least, thanks to Marine Base Camp Pendleton and the more than 100 Marines who volunteered to make the day enjoyable for these special families.

At evening’s end, everyone was already looking forward to seeing each other again next year.

About Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) offers compassionate care to all those grieving the death of a loved one serving in our Armed Forces. Since 1994, TAPS has provided comfort and hope 24 hours a day, seven days a week through a national peer support network and connection to grief resources, all at no cost to surviving families and loved ones.

About MilitaryConnection.com
MilitaryConnection.com offers one of the most comprehensive directories of military and Veteran resources on the web, focusing on employment, education and more. Military Connection has been named a Top 100 Employment Web Site by the International Association of Employment Web Sites for five years in a row. MilitaryConnection.com features thousands of pages of resources and information. There is something for everyone including, but not limited to a Job Board and Virtual Job Fair, comprehensive Post 9/11 GI Bill education information with a directory of thousands of scholarships and a Veteran school directory, news, press releases, special events, pay charts, benefits, service directories, commissaries and exchanges, golf courses and more.

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Debbie Gregory
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