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Guard Leaders Welcome Ukraine Family Support Organizers

  • Published
  • By Air Force Master Sgt. Amber Monio,
  • National Guard Bureau

ARLINGTON, Virginia – Caring for those affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine took a personal turn for National Guardsmen at the Temple Army Readiness Center recently.

Members of TAPS Ukraine, a non-governmental organization, and the parent organization’s founder, Bonnie Carroll, president of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, were greeted by Army Maj. Gen. Giselle Wilz, director of staff, National Guard Bureau, May 24, 2023, to discuss the importance of TAPS initiatives in the National Guard. 

TAPS’ enduring mission is to provide comfort, care and resources to individuals grieving the loss of a military loved one, with a special focus right now on Ukraine.

Wilz expressed her gratitude. “Your stories are our stories; our stories are your stories,” she said. “We are so grateful to TAPS and the special care it provides to our Guard members and our families.” 

“The National Guard-TAPS partnership is founded in the common value of taking care of families,” said Carroll, a retired U.S. Air Force Reserve officer.

TAPS is one of the partnering programs of the NGB’s Warrior Resilience and Fitness Division, supporting National Guardsmen and families with support for suicide prevention, risk reduction, substance abuse treatment, and resilience.

“When we have an organization like TAPS that is so experienced on what it means to take care of the entire family, that means a lot to them and it means a lot to us,” said Senior Enlisted Advisor Tony Whitehead, SEA to the chief of the NGB.

Carroll started the organization in 1994 following the death of her husband, Army Brig. Gen. Tom Carroll, the assistant adjutant general of the Alaska Army National Guard, in an Army C-12 crash two years prior. And today, TAPS’ involvement ranges to a substantial program of aid and support in Ukraine.

“This was a mission we had to do,” said Liliia Kravets, co-founder of the TAPS Charitable Foundation. “TAPS Ukraine has filled-in gaps supporting over 150 Ukraine military units and families with the work of our volunteers.”

TAPS offers a range of services, including psychological help and humanitarian aid, and plays a role in supporting families of fallen Ukrainian military members, military families, volunteers, displaced children, and children who have experienced the horrors of war.

With one hundred volunteer psychologists across all primary regions of Ukraine, the program provides assistance to individuals coping with wartime trauma and emotional challenges, she said.

In 2018, the organization established TAPS Ukraine in the U.S. to help meet the emotional and humanitarian needs of Ukrainians who have suffered from Russian aggression. The director of TAPS Ukraine, Yuliya Dmytrova, also attended the meeting. 

“Every day, our civilians suffer the results of war,” she said. 

Carroll said TAPS Ukraine actively seeks resources for medicines, equipment, food products, and supplies for displaced persons and hospitals. The program also supplies military uniforms, protective gear, and technical equipment to Ukrainian fighters.

TAPS operates one of the largest volunteer headquarters in Ukraine, with nearly 1,400 members, said Carroll. The organization’s reach extends globally, currently partnered with 29 countries, supporting more than 350,000 people who have experienced the loss of a military loved one. 

During the event, delegates from Romania and Burkina Faso also shared stories of how TAPS is working in their regions. 

Carroll said TAPS maintains close ties with foreign partners—a concept shared by the National Guard through its State Partnership Program, a key U.S. security cooperation tool that facilitates civil-military affairs and encourages people-to-people ties.

“It’s important to remember that our state partnerships are not rooted just in the military but human connection,” said Wilz. “It is bigger than the uniform; it connects society.” 

For more information on the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, visit or contact NGB-J1-W through the CAC-enforced Guard Knowledge Online portal.