NHL Team Donates $100,000 to Help TAPS Families
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 7, 2012 The National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals highlighted the club’s ninth annual military appreciation night yesterday with a six-figure donation to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors program.
The TAPS program, founded in 1994, provides support for anyone who has suffered the loss of a military loved one, regardless of their relationship to the deceased or the circumstance of the death.
“It’s very important to have this kind of level of support for our families and members in uniform,” Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Capitals co-owner Raul Fernandez. “I want to thank you and the Caps team for your continued support of our men and women in uniform. … We know that your support extends far beyond this. We’ve just heard about the very, very generous donation to TAPS. TAPS is a terrific program.”
In pregame remarks, Fernandez announced a donation of $105,742.76 to TAPS.
“The donation tonight is just absolutely fantastic for those family members,” Winnefeld said. “It just reflects the tremendous generosity of the Caps organization and the fact that they recognize that there is goodness being a responsible member of the community, as well as a hell of a lot of fun as a sports franchise.”
Rene C. Bardorf, deputy assistant secretary of defense for community and public outreach, attended military appreciation night and praised the Capitals organization.
“Your support of military families is just to be applauded,” she said. “Your salute to military is very fitting for this evening, but as you have mentioned, it doesn’t begin and end here tonight. What’s wonderful about the Caps program is that it’s a fully integrated program that doesn’t just involve giving tickets to service members to come and enjoy a game. It goes far deeper than that.”
For example, she said, the organization uses its fan base to raise public awareness for service members and their families as they reintegrate back into communities.
Bardorf joined the vice chairman in expressing her appreciation for the large donation to TAPS.
“We need this collaborative effort between government and private sector in order to support our military families and ensure they have successful futures for the rest of their lives,” she said.
The vice chairman noted that troops around the world who are NHL fans likely were watching the game with great appreciation.
“You have about 200,000 military members deployed tonight overseas [and] all across the world,” Winnefeld said. “Many of them are Capitals fans, and some of them might well be tuning into this game tonight.”