FORT WORTH, Texas, Nov. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- All aboard! Snowball Express will soon be on its way. Beginning Friday, Nov. 30, more than 1,700 children and spouses of fallen military will once again travel to North Texas, arriving via American Airlines and American Eagle flights for Snowball Express – an all-expense-paid visit to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The seventh annual event runs through Tuesday, Dec. 4. Snowball Express is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization established in 2006 with the mission of bringing hope, joy and new memories to children who have lost a parent on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001.
As the official airline of Snowball Express, American and American Eagle are donating nine chartered aircraft and providing free travel on selected commercial flights for families traveling from 54 cities across the United States, as well as international locations including Puerto Rico and Guam.
"All of us at American Airlines and American Eagle are humbled by the sacrifices these families have made for our great nation," said Tom Horton, American's Chairman and CEO. "Snowball Express honors the memory of the men and women who so bravely served our country. It is a privilege for us, especially our hundreds of volunteers, to once again bring these families to Dallas/Fort Worth – our hometown – for a few days of fun and the opportunity to find new friendships and memories."
The Snowball Express flights are made possible by 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 organization 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 USO (United Service Organizations) Warrior and Family Care provided a grant for this year's Snowball Express.
"While many of us look forward to the holiday season with excitement and anticipation of time with family and friends, the holidays can be difficult for those who have lost a loved one – especially the families of fallen military," said Francis "Buck" Kern, Executive Director and CEO of Snowball Express. "We're thankful for the support from American Airlines to help bring joy and healing to these children and spouses whose lives have been forever changed by the loss of their loved one."
People from American and American Eagle will host special send-off receptions at each of the departure airports. Festivities will include holiday decorations at gates and onboard aircraft, refreshments and entertainment, and even visits from Santa Claus.
Upon arrival at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Snowball Express families will be greeted at "American Candy Land," which will feature decorated gates that will include holiday crafts, appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus, and colorful treats in keeping with the theme.
Among this year's Snowball Express events are a visit to the AT&T Performing Arts Center for the annual tree-lighting celebration; participation in the Dallas Children's Parade; a trip to Six Flags Over Texas; and a private concert by Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band at Billy Bob's, the famed Texas honkytonk in the Fort Worth Stockyards.
To learn more about Snowball Express sponsorship opportunities, or to view a complete list of corporate and nonprofit sponsors, visit SnowballExpress.org. Additional information can also be found at AA.com/JoinUs.
About American Airlines
American Airlines, American Eagle® and the AmericanConnection® carrier serve 260 airports in more than 50 countries and territories with, on average, more than 3,500 daily flights. The combined network fleet numbers nearly 900 aircraft. American's award-winning website, AA.com®, provides users with easy access to check and book fares, plus personalized news, information and travel offers. American Airlines is a founding member of the oneworld® alliance, which brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business, enabling them to offer their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own. Together, its members and members-elect serve more than 900 destinations with more than 9,000 daily flights to 150 countries and territories. American Airlines, Inc. and American Eagle Airlines, Inc. are subsidiaries of AMR Corporation. AmericanAirlines, American Eagle, AmericanConnection, AA.com, and AAdvantage are trademarks of American Airlines, Inc. AMR Corporation common stock trades under the symbol "AAMRQ" on the OTCQB marketplace, operated by OTC Markets Group.
About Snowball Express
The mission of Snowball Express, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is to provide hope and new memories for the children of fallen military heroes who have died in active duty since 9/11. Since 2006, Snowball Express has hosted an annual event that brings children of fallen military heroes together for a few days of fun. In 2007, nearly 800 children and more than 300 surviving spouses attended the annual Snowball Express event. Snowball Express has no paid staff. It has approximately 25 volunteers who work year round on the "main event." Ninety four percent of all collected cash donations go directly to the event. When in-kind donations of more than $3 million are included, the total percentage of funds expended for fundraising and administrative costs is less than one percent. www.snowballexpress.org.
About Air Compassion for Veterans
Air Compassion for Veterans (ACV) is the oldest and largest charitable veterans' air transportation organization in the United States. Operating under an earlier name, it began serving veterans in 1972. When the surge in need from Iraq and Afghanistan ramped up service, the program name ACV was adopted. Over 44,000 service members and their families have been transported since the start up. Flights are provided for veterans, active duty military, and wounded warriors and/or their adversely-affected family members to ensure they receive the finest medical and rehabilitative care available.
About the USO
The USO (United Service Organizations) lifts the spirits of America's troops and their families millions of times each year at hundreds of places worldwide. We provide a touch of home through centers at airports and military bases in the U.S. and abroad, top quality entertainment and innovative programs and services. We also provide critical support to those who need us most, including forward-deployed troops, military families, wounded warriors and their families and the families of the fallen.
The USO is a private, nonprofit organization, not a government agency. All of our programs and services are made possible by the American people, support of our corporate partners and the dedication of our volunteers and staff. In addition to individual donors and corporate sponsors, the USO is supported by President's Circle Partners: American Airlines, AT&T, Clear Channel, The Coca-Cola Company, jcpenney, Kangaroo Express, Kroger, Lowe's, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Procter & Gamble, and TriWest Healthcare Alliance and Worldwide Strategic Partners: BAE Systems, The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft Corporation and TKS Telepost Kabel-Service Kaiserslautern GmbH & Co. KG. We are also supported through the United Way and Combined Federal Campaign (CFC-11381). To join us in this patriotic mission, and to learn more about the USO, please visit uso.org.
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SOURCE American Airlines