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Local group 'TAPS' prepares to march in presidential inauguration parade for 1st time

“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure the families have a comfortable, safe experience,” Bonnie Carroll, President and Founder of Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), said in front of a crowded conference room.

Carroll is no stranger to getting her team prepared to march in a big event. She says TAPS, which offers support for families who have lost someone serving in the armed forces, has been a part of the Memorial Day Parade in the past.

“Why don’t we put the families with children up in the front row?” She suggested to the team during a meeting.

January 20 will be their first time marching in the Inaugural Parade.

“This is actually an opportunity for us to bring 200 surviving families together to be there to support each other and to honor their loved ones sacrifice to this nation,” said Carroll.

It’s something that hits close to home for Kelly Griffith.

“It kind of feels like my brother is going to be here, right there with me that day. We’ll be carrying that person in our hearts,” said Griffith, Manager of Internal Communications with TAPS.

The group says around 200 families who have also lost someone plan to march with TAPS.

“We have a family who organized a group in Iowa, in rural Iowa, and they are bringing a whole van load of 12 gold star parents,” Carroll shared with the team during the meeting.

“I marched the Inaugural Parade in 2013, and I thought that was a great honor, and I consider it an even greater honor to march this parade with TAPS,” said Tim Parrish, a mentor with TAPS.

The group is gearing up and working out the logistics. They plan to hold a banner, flags, and signs with the faces of lives lost.

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