How many times do you get to hear the stories behind the songs on your iPod–as well as hear them performed by the songwriters? Year after year, TAPS Colorado Celebrity Classic continues to hit all the right notes with its unique and crowd-pleasing format. Celebrating 25 years of service by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) organization, this year’s 14th annual Colorado Celebrity Classic Songwriters Show and Dinner put together another memorable event with its fabulous food, families, philanthropy and music.

Pete Coors (second from left), with the Coors Cowboy Club Chuckwagon Crew from Amarillo, Texas

On Saturday, June 15, more than 500 guests converged on the Grove Family Ranch at Cherry Creek for a down-home evening beginning with a hearty, authentically cooked Western-heritage, prime-rib supper prepared by the Coors Cowboy Club Chuckwagon Crew from Amarillo, Texas. Guests could also peruse the silent auction to the tunes of Tony David & WildeFire. Radio host and emcee Steffan Tubbs welcomed the crowd and event directors Bo and Lynne Cottrell spoke about the event and its beneficiaries. Tony David returned to the stage to recognize this year’s volunteer award recipients Micah Marmaro and Liza Patton.

Heather and Gabe Reed

TAPS founder Bonnie Carroll, who divides her time between her home in Alaska and TAPS’ Arlington, Virginia national headquarters, related how the organization began, standing among a large group of survivors holding photos of their lost military loved ones. Then 21-year-old survivor Angel Pansini, Legacy Mentor and 2019 Sen. Ted Stevens Leadership Award recipient, told the crowd what it’s really like to take part in TAPS’ programs. Auctioneer Roger Sierens efficiently and amiably led the live auction along with crowd-favorite game Heads or Tails. The evening ended with the always-delightful Nashville Songwriters Show, featuring stories and songs written and performed by Danny Wells, Billy Montana, Keni Thomas and Jimmy Nichols.

Bonnie Carroll founded TAPS following the death of her husband in an Army C-12 plane crash in 1992. She retired as a major in the Air Force Reserve following 30 years of service. Prior to joining the USAFR, Maj. Carroll served 16 years in the Air National Guard. She is the 2015 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Honor.

Nathaniel and Samantha with their little ones Victoria (left) and Elizabeth

This year commemorates 25 years of TAPS care, programs and resources provided without cost to all military survivors. Funds raised enable the organization to host the TAPS Colorado Regional Military Survivor Seminar & Good Grief Camp. Each year, nearly 300 survivors are supported by military mentors who are paired one-to-one with children in the Good Grief Camp. For more information, please visit TAPS.org or call 800-959-TAPS (8277) 24/7.