In what has become an annual tradition for the Gary Sinise Foundation, their Snowball Express program officially kicked off on Saturday. Over 1,000 Gold Star families, those who lost a loved one while serving in the military, are being sent to Disney World for a five-day experience.
“While Snowball Express has been around since 2006, this is its first year as an official program of the Foundation and our first year at Disney World,” Gary Sinise said in a press release. “We are so grateful that American Airlines continues their tradition of traveling our Gold Star families from all around the country for this amazing healing event. We can’t wait to see our 1,722 Snowball family members!”
Over 1000 Gold Star Children travel w/ surviving parent, 1,750 in all, via @americanair to Disney World today as part of our @GarySiniseFound Snowball Express program. This charter left LAX this morning. I’ll join up in a few days. Have fun kids! We love you! pic.twitter.com/OfMEpVF1er— Gary Sinise (@GarySinise) December 8, 2018
The Snowball Express was designed “to provide a memorable experience where they can access support, create new bonds, make positive memories, and build a community with the only people who can truly understand their loss: each other.”
A total of 12 chartered flights, departing from 26 cities, from American Airlines picked up the Snowball Express families this year.
Gary Sinise Foundation’s Snowball Express 2018 at Walt Disney World in Orlando this year! A chance to heal, connect with other Gold Star families, and celebrate! 1,722 family members of our fallen heroes at the happiest place on earth. pic.twitter.com/zdE4gcEwiM— GarySiniseFoundation (@GarySiniseFound) December 10, 2018
“Snowball Express is an impressive event that continues to grow every year and it is our deep privilege to partner with the Gary Sinise Foundation to honor our Gold Star families. As a company, and as a nation, we owe it to them to never forget the sacrifice that continues long after the war is over,” said David Seymour, Senior Vice President, Integrated Operations at American Airlines and graduate of the United States Military Academy.