- Associated Press - Friday, April 25, 2014

DESTIN, Fla. (AP) - Military widows gathered for a five-day retreat at a Panhandle resort say they are finding comfort in meeting other women who are facing similar circumstances.

The Washington-based Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors was hosting 37 women at Destin’s Emerald Grande this week. The organization supports families of military members who are killed doing their jobs.

Event organizers told the Northwest Florida Daily News (http://bit.ly/1k9Pqjz) that their goal was to help the women by connecting them with other widows to share their experiences and to support each other.

Among those who attended the retreat were Meghan Jaquez of Crestview and Michelle Biegalski of Navarre.

Jaquez, a 24-year-old mother of two, said meeting their other women has helped her.

Her husband, a special forces soldier, died in July of 2012.

“You don’t get pity here,” she said. “They’re good about saying, ‘Man up and let’s get going.”’ 

Biegalski’s fiance, an airman, died in a 2012 airplane crash in Djibouti.

She and Jaquez became close friends during the retreat.

Biegalski said all of the women have become close.

“We can talk,” she said.

“You hold so much in, and here we can talk about it.”

The women also spent time walking the beach, kayaking and doing other fun activities their gathering.

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Information from: Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.), http://www.nwfdailynews.com

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