Bonnie Mersinger Carroll, a graduate of Loudoun Valley High School, was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
She received her award during a ceremony at the White House Tuesday.
Carroll founded the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) in 1994, after her husband, Brig. Gen. Tom Carroll, died in an Army plane crash, along with seven other soldiers. At the time, there was no national support network for the families of America’s fallen military men and women.
Since its start, TAPS has provided care to more than 50,000 military families. It offers peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, grief seminars and retreats for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, case work assistance, online and in-person support groups and a 24/7 resource and information helpline.
“My receipt of the Medal of Freedom is a recognition of the care and respect this nation gives to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” Carroll stated. “It honors those who are truly our nation’s living legacy of service and sacrifice.”
She was among 17 recently named Medal of Freedom recipients. Among those honored were Gloria Estefan, Willie Mays, Steven Spielberg, Barbra Streisand and James Taylor.
Addressing the award winners present at the ceremony Tuesday, President Barack Obama said, “This is an extraordinary group.”
View the full list of recipients here.
A special reception honoring Carroll is planned for 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, at the Army Navy Club, 901 17th St. NW in Washington, DC. RSVP to email@example.com.