‘Snowball Express’ honors the families of fallen heroes

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Losing a parent is never easy, and it can be even more difficult when it happens to you as a child.

But this weekend, American Airlines and a group of volunteers are teaming up to help kids who have been through a lot already at a young age.

In 2006, American Airlines started up a program called ‘Snowball Express.’

It’s a special trip, free of charge, for military families whose loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Hundreds of kids and their families went to Dallas for the four-day trip.

Captain John Higley has been flying the families for four years now, and he’s just one of hundreds of volunteers who’ve come together to give back.

“When they all get to Dallas and they open the door and there’s 1,500 other kids and they start reuniting, and it’s like instantly they’re kindling that friendship from last year,” he said. “Normally no one else around them has the same experience as they do. They lost a parent in the military so it’s tough. It’s the least we can do.”

“As a military spouse, I think that we saw how easy it could have been. My family and I wanted to do something that would give back to our community, to our military community,” volunteer Melissa Hermosillo said. “[It’s] a way to honor their service and more importantly to celebrate something special with the kids and let them know that they are still supported and they are still loved.”

While the trip is about having fun with friends, it’s also about honoring the lives of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

“I used to work on [my dad’s] car with him and he used to take us to Toys”R”Us,” Aubry Haney said.

“We were able to Skype him all the time and he would tell us the coolest stories about him out there serving,” Kelsi Johnson said about her dad.

“I just hope that my kids remember how much that he loved them and how much he was willing to sacrifice for our family,” Kelsi’s mom Amy said.

Events like this remind the kids that their family’s sacrifice will never be forgotten.

“It means a lot as a parent that people still care, and it means a lot to see them having fun,” Amy said. “A lot of the things that we have been invited to go to are more somber and sad, and they bring back lots of sad memories. But when we come to Snowball Express it’s just lots of fun and they just get to be kids and have a good time.”

“Snowball Express means so much to me and my family…It’s a whole week of just being able to honor those who have passed away and to know that my dad is still remembered is just so amazing,” Kelsi said.

While they’re in Fort Worth, the families are doing fun activities like enjoying concerts and checking out museums.

The whole time they’re there, they don’t pay a single cent for anything.

Plus, as they travel around the city, the community lines the streets to show their support and say thank you to the families who have served our country.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s