TRAGEDY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM FOR SURVIVORS RECEIVES MOTOROLA SOLUTIONS FOUNDATION PUBLIC SAFETY GRANTGrant provides critically needed support for families grieving a military death by suicide
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 11, 2012
WASHINGTON – The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), announced it has received $100,000 as part of the Motorola Solutions Foundation’s Public Safety and Security Institute. The Motorola Solutions Foundation is the charitable arm of Motorola Solutions, Inc. Through the grant, TAPS was able to put in place two additional peer-professionals to support military families grieving the death by suicide of a service member.
The Motorola Solutions Foundation’s Public Safety Grants aim to support safety education and training programs for first responders, their families and the general public in the United States and Canada.
“This funding enabled us to put in place critically needed frontline professional responders for these hurting military families who are coping with a devastating loss by suicide,” said Kimberly Ruocco, director of suicide postvention programs and education at TAPS and surviving spouse of Marine Major John Ruocco, who died by suicide in 2005.
“These families need wrap-around care – from peer-based emotional support to assistance with benefits and getting to community-based care,” said Ruocco. “Often these families experiencing a suicide come to TAPS in a high state of trauma, so this funding for two frontline professionals ensures that we have people available 24/7 who are trained to support them.”
Ruocco said that TAPS intakes on average 8-10 people per week who are grieving a death by suicide, but has seen its referrals go up over the last month due to increased media attention on the military’s suicide numbers, which are spiking in 2012, with 154 service member suicides in the first 155 days of 2012.
Often military families coping with suicide feel isolated. “After losing someone to suicide, many folks feel overwhelmed by grief and often, it is the stigma that keeps them from reaching out for help,” said Kimberly Gutierrez, a military family member, who lost her father to suicide, with a background in nursing who was hired with the grant funding.
“However, if we can contact and embrace these family members and connect them to services within their communities, like grief counseling and support groups, as well as connect them to other survivors, then hopefully we will be able to help them process the grief so that they can better understand and cope with the loss of their loved one,” said Gutierrez.
The other staff person hired with the grant is Paul McShan, who suffered the death of his son, Marine Corporal Richard McShan, by suicide in 2009. “You heal by helping others,” said McShan, who helps other families experiencing the suicide of a service member find support. “When you can talk to someone else that experienced the same thing, you can connect. You know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
“Aligning with Motorola Solutions’ purpose to helps people be their best in the moments that matter, the Motorola Solutions Foundation is honored to support first responders and their families through program funding that bolster safety and education,” said Matt Blakely, director of the Motorola Solutions Foundation. “Through the Public Safety Grants, we partner with programs like TAPS to ensure first responders have access to the necessary tools and resources they need to succeed.”
Through the Public Safety and Security Institute, the Motorola Solutions Foundation serves as an investor, convener and global activator on issues that affect the safety of communities and security of countries worldwide, providing leadership in the sector to drive innovation and grow and engage the network of those interested in these issues.
About TAPSThe Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivor (TAPS) is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America’s fallen military heroes and has offered support to more than 35,000 surviving family members of our fallen military and caregivers since 1994. TAPS provides peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, seminars for adults, good grief camps for children, case work assistance, connections to community-based care and a 24/7 resource and information helpline for all who have been affected by a death in the Armed Forces. Services are provided free of charge. For more information go to www.taps.org or call 800.959.TAPS (8277).
About Motorola Solutions FoundationThe Motorola Solutions Foundation is the charitable and philanthropic arm of Motorola Solutions. With employees located around the globe, Motorola Solutions seeks to benefit the communities where it operates. The company achieves this by making strategic grants, forging strong community partnerships and fostering innovation. The Motorola Solutions Foundation focuses its funding on public safety, disaster relief, employee programs and education, especially science, technology, engineering and math programming. For more information on Motorola Solutions Corporate and Foundation giving, visit www.motorolasolutions.com/giving.
Media contact for TAPS: Ami Neiberger-Miller, 202.588.8277, email@example.com
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