WOODLAND HILLS, Calif., Dec. 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Gary Sinise Foundation is excited to announce Snowball Express is now an official program of their organization. Snowball Express began 12 years ago, in 2006, and is dedicated to serving the children of our fallen heroes and Gold Star families. Gary Sinise has personally supported their efforts for the past 11 years, and since the Foundation's inception in 2011 it has supported Snowball Express through its Relief & Resiliency Outreach initiative.
"From our first deployments to Afghanistan just after the attacks on 9/11 we have seen thousands of our military service members give their lives defending our country. Heroes all," said Sinise. "Sadly, there are also many unsung heroes; the families, spouses and children who they leave behind. I believe we can never do enough for these families, but we can always try to do a little more to ensure they know that we will never forget nor take for granted the sacrifices of their fallen heroes. Through the generosity of the American people who support Gary Sinise Foundation and our efforts to honor the needs of our defenders, Snowball Express will now have the opportunity to grow stronger as a program of the Gary Sinise Foundation, continuing to bring hope and new memories to even more children and families throughout the country in the coming years. My thanks go out to all the great Americans who have given of themselves to make Snowball Express what it is today and I look forward to wonderful days ahead for these special children."
In addition to community driven events that take place throughout the year, the program will continue to host their annual four-day experience where they bring nearly 2,000 Gold Star family members from all around the world. The families participate in fun activities, sporting events, dances, amusement parks, a performance by Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band, as well as exercises for community bonding and emotional healing.
Gary Sinise Foundation's official airline partner, American Airlines, will continue as the presenting sponsor of Snowball Express, donating a fleet of charter flights to bring the families of the fallen together each year. The annual event would not be possible without American Airline's generous contribution.
"For 12 years Snowball Express has been a favorite among the American team and I am proud to work with so many generous colleagues, not only those who donate their time to fly and serve the families in the air, but those who spend countless hours coordinating gate-side sendoffs in scores of airports around our system and arranging a first class arrival experience," said Captain Jim Palmersheim, who leads Military and Veterans Programs at American Airlines, and is a Gary Sinise Foundation board member, and former Snowball Express board member. "Snowball Express is an impressive event that has grown larger and larger each year and it is our deep privilege to continue honoring these Gold Star families by partnering with Gary Sinise as Snowball becomes a program of Gary Sinise Foundation."
Since 2006, the mission of Snowball Express has been a simple, yet profoundly important one: Providing hope and new happy memories to the children of military fallen heroes who have died while on active duty since 9/11. Nationally, Snowball Express provides comprehensive support programs for Gold Star families that are focused on transition and connections to community resources, healing and wellness, peer engagement, education and personal/professional development programs.
"Snowball Express is proud and excited to become an official program of the Gary Sinise Foundation and to continue our tremendous partnership with American Airlines," said Francis "Buck" Kern, Executive Director for Snowball Express. "Gary has been an exceptional partner of our programs since we began twelve years ago. His personal support of our programs, his commitment and love for the children and families we serve, and the love and respect that our families have for Gary, make this change a perfect fit. Gary is known for saying "we can always do a little more." I believe that together, we will do a lot more to serve and support the children and families of America's fallen military heroes."
The Gary Sinise Foundation is committed to expanding the program's outreach while continuing their wonderful traditions, all which directly benefit thousands of families who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Further details and exciting updates will be announced in early 2018.
About the Gary Sinise Foundation:
The Gary Sinise Foundation honors America's defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need. Through its R.I.S.E. program (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment), specially adapted smart homes are being constructed for severely wounded veterans and first responders nationwide. Each one-of-a-kind home is customized to ease the everyday burdens of a wounded hero, their family, and caregivers. Other programs include Emergency Relief Fund, Invincible Spirit Festivals, Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band, Arts & Entertainment Outreach, Serving Heroes, and First Responders Outreach. Soaring Valor is sending WWII veterans to The National WWII Museum and documenting their first-hand accounts of the war. Its newest program, Snowball Express serves children of our fallen heroes and Gold Star families. For more information, please visit www.garysinisefoundation.org.
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SOURCE Gary Sinise Foundation