Just when you thought we couldn’t love Gary Sinise more, he pops up and does the unthinkable! Turns out more than 1,700 Golden Star family members were chosen to take a trip called “The Snowball Express”, an official program of the Gary Sinise Foundation.
What does the program include? A Trip to Walt Disney World! The actor had a total of 15 airplanes in which children and spouses of fallen soldiers were in, and were treated to an all-expenses-paid five-day vacation in Orlando, Florida! There were families from Dallas, Chicago, Nashville, and Los Angeles.
Each airport had a special sendoff for the families, with people dressed in holiday attire and other festive gear, cheering and singing holiday songs. This therapeutic retreat offers a fun and inspiring program that encourage critical peer-to-peer support for these families and their loved ones.
Sinise’s stated that this annual event is done for children who have lost a parent in military service, either combat-related or illness, and want to make sure the children know that they aren’t forgotten. Although the Gold Star Family may be grieving, the program aims to provide a memorable experience where they can access support, make positive memories, create new bonds, and build a community with those who understand their loss. Sinise’s foundation took over the Snowball Express Program in 2017, but the actor has supported the program for years. He believes it helps families heal, learn, and build lasting relationships.
Another sponsor of the program is American Airlines, who provide the air travel, flight staff and hundreds of team member who volunteer. The actor has dedicated years to causes for veterans such as volunteering or USO tours, helping people overcome loss or injury and building homes for wounded veterans.