FORT WORTH, Texas, Dec. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- On Saturday, Dec. 12, American Airlines, along with nearly 1,000 employee volunteers, will bring approximately 1,700 children and spouses of fallen service men and women to Dallas/Fort Worth. The all-expense-paid trip marks the 10th annual Snowball Express celebration and takes place over five days through Wednesday, Dec. 16.
Upon arrival at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), families will be greeted by employee volunteers with a Texas-sized celebration and welcome. During their visit to the Lone Star State, they'll experience a Walk of Gratitude honoring their sacrifice, a tour of the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, a "knight" of jousting fun at Medieval Times and a private concert by Academy Award-nominated actor Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band.
"We are honored to be part of this incredible experience for the 10th consecutive year," said Scott Kirby, president of American Airlines and graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. "Many of our employees generously volunteer every year to bring hope and joy to these children and their families, and we look forward to welcoming them to Dallas/Fort Worth Saturday."
As the official airline of Snowball Express, American Airlines is transporting families traveling from 84 cities worldwide via nearly 60 chartered and commercial flights. American Airlines employees volunteer their time in a variety of ways, including hosting special sendoff celebrations at each of the departure airports, staffing the flights and assisting with activities, "decking the gates" with holiday decorations, and providing refreshments and entertainment, all to make sure the Snowball Express families have an unforgettable experience each year.
"I volunteer each year to show these kids that we remember their parent and the ultimate sacrifice they made for our freedom," said Dave Vinnedge, a St. Louis-based first officer and returning Snowball Express volunteer. "Snowball Express gives them the opportunity to get together with other kids that have experienced the same tragedy, which helps them heal."
The children in this video give American employees hope and inspiration, and are the reason why they look forward to volunteering each and every year.
Snowball Express is a 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.
"Having the ability to bring these children together for five days, and realizing how significantly their lives change in such a short period of time, is very humbling," said Francis 'Buck' Kern, executive director of Snowball Express. "For 10 years now, we have had the honor of serving the children of our fallen Military heroes. This ability to change lives would not have been possible without the support of American Airlines, and the employees of American Airlines. Their support and the outpouring of support from the citizens of Dallas and Fort Worth have shown these families that they are not forgotten, and that the ultimate sacrifice of their hero will never be forgotten. Snowball Express is eternally grateful to American Airlines for making this good work possible. We look forward to their partnership for many years to come."
About American Airlines Group
American Airlines Group (NASDAQ: AAL) is the holding company for American Airlines. Together with regional partners operating as American Eagle, American offers an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. 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. This year American Airlines Group Inc. topped Fortune Magazine's list of best business turnarounds and its stock joined the S&P 500 index. Connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir and at Facebook.com/AmericanAirlines.
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 and the world. The mission of Snowball Express is to honor America's fallen military service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice since September 11, 2001 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. More than ninety 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: https://www.facebook.com/SnowballExpressUSA/, and follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/SnowballExpress.
SOURCE American Airlines