Lenzy Ruffin Photography Blog

Lenzy Ruffin is a corporate event and headshot photographer in Washington, DC. He creates publication-quality images that capture what you or your organization are all about. He helps you tell your story with compelling images that grab people's attention. Whether it's event photography or headshots, Lenzy Ruffin creates images that make people click.

TAPS Seminar 2017 - Opening Day

T.A.P.S. (taps.org) is the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. It's a peer-based support organization for bereaved military families where families help each other work through their grief through a variety of organized programs. Memorial Day weekend is when they hold their Annual National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp. This year is the 23rd year. It's basically like a family reunion for survivor families with tons of programming and support activities and opportunities for the families to laugh, cry, fellowship, and help each other work through the loss of loved ones.

A brand new group of graduates from the Peer Mentor training class. These are folks who've advanced through the grieving process to the point that they wanted to get trained on how to help someone else work through their grief. That's how TAPS works. You come in needing comfort and counseling and, through a methodical process, they bring you to the point where you're able to render that same comfort and counseling to others.

A brand new group of graduates from the Peer Mentor training class. These are folks who've advanced through the grieving process to the point that they wanted to get trained on how to help someone else work through their grief. That's how TAPS works. You come in needing comfort and counseling and, through a methodical process, they bring you to the point where you're able to render that same comfort and counseling to others.

The TAPS Family Tree, adorned with photos of the fallen.

The TAPS Family Tree, adorned with photos of the fallen.

An impromptu memorial to Corporal Richard Alan Bowman, assembled by best buds Kathy and Miriam. The candy boxes that Kathy assembled are sitting on top of the bed spread that Miriam made. She makes more than bed spreads, too. For those attending the seminar, make sure you ask to see the pillows and all the other stuff she's made.

An impromptu memorial to Corporal Richard Alan Bowman, assembled by best buds Kathy and Miriam. The candy boxes that Kathy assembled are sitting on top of the bed spread that Miriam made. She makes more than bed spreads, too. For those attending the seminar, make sure you ask to see the pillows and all the other stuff she's made.

These two are inseparable.

These two are inseparable.

This is them in Peer Mentor training.

This is them in Peer Mentor training.

This is them cuttin' up in the hallway after Peer Mentor training.

This is them cuttin' up in the hallway after Peer Mentor training.

This is them at the TAPS Family Tree, pointing to their lost loved ones who just happened to get put on the wall next to each other because a higher power knew that that's where they were supposed to be..

This is them at the TAPS Family Tree, pointing to their lost loved ones who just happened to get put on the wall next to each other because a higher power knew that that's where they were supposed to be..

And this is them in their room.

And this is them in their room.

Kathy and Miriam are a beautiful example of what TAPS is all about. Through loss, they found each other and now the road they walk is one they walk together, leaning on each other when they need to and finding some happiness on their journey because they're traveling with their best bud. 

Please share this post as widely as you can. As surprising as it may seem, there are lots of grieving military families and veteran's groups that do not know that TAPS exists. You may very well have a bereaved military family member in your extended network who is suffering alone because they don't know that this wonderful support organization exists. We are still at war. There are service members in harm's way as you read this. And the tragic reality of that is we continue to produce families that need what TAPS offers.

[REWIND: Trapeze School Antics from Last Year's Seminar]

Share this post with your network to remind everyone that Memorial Day is a holiday that comes with an immeasurable cost. Freedom ain't free. We all need to give some thought to what we can do to help TAPS support the families of the fallen.

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