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City News

Posted on: December 7, 2023

Gold Star Families depart Killeen Regional Airport for Disney World

Gold Star Families pose with officials and volunteers before Snowball Express flight to Disney World

The Gary Sinise Foundation sponsors the complimentary trip each year

KILLEEN, Texas (Dec. 7, 2023) – Thirty-seven passengers returned to the Killeen Regional Airport on Dec. 6, following a complimentary five-day trip to Disney World, sponsored by the Gary Sinise Foundation.

 

The citizens are Gold Star Families and they departed to Florida on Dec. 2, as a part of the annual Snowball Express event that serves surviving spouses and children of fallen heroes.

 

“This incredible event and the ones we host year-round across the nation allows the children and spouses of fallen heroes a chance to meet each other, to make new friends and to see that they are not alone,” Rick Lynch (Retired Lt. Gen.) of the Gary Sinise Foundation said as he read a letter to the group from Sinise on Dec. 2. Sinise is well known for his role as “Lt. Dan” in the movie, “Forrest Gump.”

 

Each year, the Killeen Regional Airport hosts a pre-boarding celebration for the families that includes activities, face painting, games, a visit from Santa and festive therapy dogs. Other supporters include Fort Cavazos leadership, City Council officials and representatives from the Gary Sinise Foundation who bring words of support from Sinise and volunteers.

 

Those VIPs and volunteers then line the jetway and give the families a patriotic send-off as they board a decorated American Airlines plane. Supporters held American flags and the Killeen Fire Department vehicles were present.

 

About 1,800 youth from 44 airports had the opportunity to visit the most magical place on earth, thanks to this organization.

 

The Gary Sinise Foundation’s Snowball Express is committed to year-round programming and support for families that honors their fallen hero, encourages them to make new memories and provides opportunities to connect with others who know what they’ve been through.

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