The Need

While it’s true that the Veterans Benefits Administration offers a variety of benefits and services to the children of service members and veterans who die in the line of duty, there are few programs specifically designed to pick those kids up, dust them off and help them continue on the path to success that their deceased parent would have wanted.

According to figures released by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), nearly 5,000 children have lost a parent to war since 2003. TAPS is a peer-based organization that has provided emotional support to tens of thousands of bereaved military families since Operation Iraqi Freedom began in March of 2003.

The organization claims 6,776 servicemen and women lost their lives in the Middle East between March 19, 2003, and Nov. 8, 2013.

Those who deal in bereavement say that for each active-duty military loss, there are about 10 relatives that are significantly impacted by the death, including parents, husbands and wives, siblings, sons and daughters, and other family members.

At Keep Climbing, Inc., our emphasis is on the 4,879 children who have lost a parent to war in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past decade, and the 5,556 who lost a brother or sister as a result of these conflicts.