FORT WORTH, Texas, Dec. 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- On Thursday, Dec. 11, nearly 1,800 children and spouses of fallen military will travel to Dallas/Fort Worth onboard American Airlines flights for the ninth annual Snowball Express weekend. Snowball Express is a nearly all-volunteer nonprofit organization established in 2006 with the mission of bringing hope and new memories to the children of military heroes who have died while on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001. The all-expense-paid trip takes place through Monday, Dec. 15.
As the official airline of Snowball Express, American is transporting families traveling from 72 cities across the United States via 10 chartered and 51 commercial flights. Hundreds of American's employees volunteer their time to host sendoff parties, staff the flights and assist with activities.
"The families of fallen soldiers are heroes to all of us at American Airlines and we are humbled by their sacrifice," said Doug Parker, American's chairman and CEO. "Snowball Express is one of the many causes that our employees support in appreciation of the men and women who serve our country, and it is one of our favorite events of the year."
Flights are made possible through the American Airlines Kids in NeedSM program, which provides worldwide support for children and their families, and for organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life for children. Airfare for some families will be provided by the nonprofit organizations Hero Miles and Air Compassion for Veterans, which is funded in part through a partnership with Fuel Smart, American's employee-led fuel conservation program. In keeping with its continued work to support families of the fallen, the United Service Organizations (USO) Warrior and Family Care provided a grant for this year's Snowball Express.
"We are thrilled to bring our Snowball families together for the ninth consecutive year," said Francis 'Buck' Kern, Executive Director of Snowball Express. "This time of the year can be very difficult for the survivors of our fallen military heroes and it is extremely powerful to hear our families talk about their life-changing experiences at Snowball Express. As we enter into our 10th year, we are stronger and better able to serve our families due to the outpouring of support from our community and sponsors. We are thankful for the unwavering commitment of American Airlines and we look forward to continuing our partnership for years to come."
American's employee volunteers will host special sendoff celebrations at each of the departure airports. Festivities will include holiday decorations at gates and onboard aircraft, refreshments and entertainment. Upon arrival at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), families will be greeted with a Texas-size celebration.
The families will also enjoy a variety of activities during their visit to the Lone Star State, including a red carpet special premiere of the movie "Annie," starring Jamie Foxx; a meet-and-greet with the stars of the Discovery Channel show "Fast N' Loud;" a tour of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science; a Western cookout at the Sheriff's Posse Ranch in Weatherford, Texas; and a private concert by Academy Award-nominated actor Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band.
About American Airlines Group
American Airlines Group (NASDAQ: AAL) is the holding company for American Airlines and US Airways. Together with wholly owned and third-party regional carriers operating as American Eagle and US Airways Express, the airlines operate an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to 339 destinations in 54 countries from its hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. The American Airlines AAdvantage and US Airways Dividend Miles programs allow members to earn miles for travel, vacation packages, car rentals, hotel stays and everyday purchases. Members of both programs can redeem miles for tickets as well as upgrades to First Class and Business Class. In addition, AAdvantage members can redeem miles for vacation packages, car rentals, hotel stays and retail products. American is a founding member of the oneworld alliance, whose members and members-elect serve nearly 1,000 destinations with 14,250 daily flights to 150 countries. Connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir and Facebook.com/AmericanAirlines and follow US Airways on Twitter @USAirways.
About Snowball Express
Over the past decade, true American Heroes, the men and women of the United States Military and their families, have made and continue to make extraordinary sacrifices to protect our freedom. Since 2006, Snowball Express, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has hosted an annual gathering that brings children of fallen military heroes together from around the nation. The mission of Snowball Express is to honor America's fallen military service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice since 9/11 by humbly serving the families they left behind. Champion their children's future success by creating opportunities for joy, friendship, education, and communal healing, by connecting these families to one another. Over ninety six percent of total contributions go directly to support its programs. To learn more about Snowball Express and to get involved please visit www.snowballexpress.org or on social media at: Facebook.com/SnowballExpressUSA, and follow us on Twitter @SnowballExpress.
SOURCE American Airlines