NORFOLK, Va. – Gold Star families got a trip to Dallas this holiday season through the Snowball Express.
This year over 300 U.S. service members escorted the families as they departed from Norfolk International Airport on their all-expense paid trip.
Since 2006, the Snowball Express has sponsored four-day trips for children of fallen service members and their guardian. The trips allow the families to enjoy activities such as sporting events and amusement parks, while meeting and spending time with other Gold Star families from around the world.
“Snowball Express focuses on the children who are grieving after losing a parents, while they were serving active duty in the military,” said Rochelle Crockett, Survivor Outreach Services support coordinator. “We have events like this to support the kids and let them know that we too remember their sacrifice. That’s all they want is just to make sure people remember what their loved one did for them and for us.”
The Snowball Express allows Gold Star families to bond and to enjoy time away from the grief and stress they may be dealing with at home.
“My husband Daniel always loved the holidays, so it was hard for us to enjoy them again after we lost him in 2011,” said Nilda Quintana, a Gold Star family member. “My daughter Adriana never got to meet her father and it’s been hard to deal with the holidays in the past. The Snowball Express came along, and they do stuff for the kids. It is very uplifting as a parent to see what they are trying to do for your kids, so they grow up knowing they are never alone.”
On the trip families for to see a balloon release at the Fort Worth Stockyards Station, Texas, a performance by Gary Sinise and, the Lt. Dan Band and many other surprise events before returning.