You might recognize actor Gary Sinise from his incredible roles in Forrest Gump, The Green Mile, and of course CSI: NY. When Gary is not working in front of the camera, he is very passionate about honoring and helping military veterans and their families. In 2011, he started the Gary Sinise Foundation with a goal to “entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities.” He started a program through his foundation called the Snowball Express which is specifically designed to provide free trips to children of fallen soldiers.
The Snowball Express program went above and beyond and was able to give over 1,750 children and their legal guardians or surviving parent a free trip to Orlando Florida for a 5-night stay and the happiest place on Earth – Disney World. Not only did they children receive a free trip, they also were able to take advantage of free mentoring, counseling services, education and entertainment.
Lieutenant Dan from the movie Forest Gump dedicates his time to US Veterans and their children.
The Gary Sinise Foundation was created in 2011 with the hopes of helping Veteran families who could use a little extra love in their lives. garysinisefoundation.org[/caption]
American Airlines played a huge part in the generous gift. They provided 14 airplanes and over 1,000 employees donated their time to make the trip of a lifetime a possibility.
The foundation started the Snowball Express program in 2017. The goal is to honor fallen US soldiers by taking their children on free trips to the most magical place on earth.
Of course we’re talking about Disney World!
Along with the trip, counseling and education, the children and the surviving parents received “We Remember” pins to honor their lost loved ones.
Gary doesn’t do any of this for the fame. It’s incredible how much he has helped these families honor the fallen US soldiers. He is truly a great man.
“The most important thing about [Snowball Express] is that these children don’t feel alone. There’s a lot of healing and a lot of bonding and a lot of friendship that goes on that helps them through the rest of the year,” Sinise told CBS Los Angeles.
These Marine smiles represent what we are all feeling about this gracious act of kindness from the foundation.
Let’s not ignore just how big of a feat it is rounding up 14 aircraft and enough people to volunteer their time to help these children and their families. Thank you American Airlines.
Gary Sinise is a compassionate man who deserves to be recognized for his good deeds towards our US soldiers.
The 64-year-old actor took to Twitter to share the trip and his experience with the world.
He spent time with every family and child that he could. Even if they left the airport before he did, he would take the time to visit with them while he waited for his flight to the Magic Kingdom.
The Snowball Express takes place every December and has teamed up with American Airlines to make this possible.
These children deserve this vacation and the resources that the foundation provides to heal and support their families.
The impact that the Gary Sinise Foundation will have on these children will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Honoring the fallen soldiers who gave all for their country.
More info: Gary Sinise Foundation
His foundation web site says the following:
The holidays can be especially challenging for grieving families. Each December, we host a five-day experience for 1,750+ children of the fallen and their surviving parent or guardian.
As a therapeutic retreat with a blend of fun and inspiring programs, these families can lean on their peers for support. And this year we’re bringing Snowball Express to Walt Disney World Resort!
No matter where these families are in the grieving process, we hope to inspire them to believe anything is possible. By providing guilt-free fun and beneficial resources in a stress-free environment, we’re creating a community to learn, grow, and make lasting memories with new friends..