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Snowball Express XI | Airpower Foundation

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Snowball Express XI

The largest recipient of funds from the Airpower Foundation raised at American Airlines Sky Ball is donated to Snowball Express, serving the children of our fallen military heroes.  Since 2006, the mission of Snowball Express has been a simple, yet profoundly important one: Provide hope and new happy memories to the children of military fallen heroes who have died while on active duty since 9/11.

Thanks to a fleet of 12 donated aircraft with all volunteer flight crews by American Airlines, they bring children together from all over the world for a four-day experience filled with fun activities, like sporting events, dances, amusement parks and more. Parents of children of the fallen often tell us that their child is reserved, withdrawn or unwilling to talk about their loss. Participating in Snowball Express changes that, making each child feel special and giving them an opportunity to share their feelings about losing something so precious, their parent.

Snowball Express XI began with the arrival of the generously donated charter flights by presenting sponsor American Airlines with all volunteer flight crews from all over the country.  The families were taken by Greyhound motor coach and Patriot Guard escort to the host hotel, the Hilton Anatole Dallas. The hotel was filled with activities in the teen and children lounges, and in the Gallo family lounge for the adults.

Day one began with a police and patriot guard Presidential escort to Fort Worth, completely shutting down highway 30 with a 48 school bus precession. Firefighters from Arlington also lined the overpasses to wave and salute our families!

After arriving in Fort Worth, the annual Walk of Gratitude was held at the famous Fort Worth Stock Yards. The families were then treated to the Pawnee Bill Wild West Show at the Cowtown Coliseum. From there our families were taken to the Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base for a private concert by Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band in a Hangar on base. Gary put on a great show as always for the families and then handed out teddy bears for all the children. Food was provided by Texas Land and Cattle, and prepared with the help of Chef Robert Irvine.

Day 2 included a fun day at four separate game centers around DFW. That evening everyone enjoyed a great dinner and entertainment at Medieval Times Show & Dinner.

The third day included our annual Talent Showcase presented by the Texas Music Project, followed by another amazing closing show by our Chief Fun Officer, David Hira.

Your support of Sky Ball and the Airpower Foundation helps make this amazing experience possible for these children and families who have lost so much in defense of our nation.  We are extremely proud to partner with Snowball Express and all these amazing families!  Please visit http://www.skyballinfo.com for details on Sky Ball XV, being held on November 11, 2017, where we will honor all of our nation’s veterans, while raising much needed funds to further the mission of the Airpower Foundation to support all who serve and their families.

One of the donated An American Airlines charter plane with a flag line precession awaiting the families.

Presidential escort by the Dallas and Fort Worth police departments along with the Patriot Guard Riders from Dallas to Fort Worth.

The annual walk of gratitude at the historic Fort Worth Stock Yards being led by members of the Airpower Foundation and the Fort Worth Airpower Council.
The walk of gratitude with special messages written to the loved ones of the families before the balloon release.
The families getting ready for the big balloon release.
The balloon release over the Fort Worth Stock Yards.
Families arriving at the Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve base for the Gary Sinise & Lt. Dan Band concert!
Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines welcomed the children and families to the Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base for the Gary Sinise & Lt. Dan Band concert!
Gary Sinise on stage with the children of Snowball Express during his concert.
Gary taking some pictures with the children of Snowball Express.
Gary Sinise handing out teddy bears he brought for all the children after his concert.
The 2016 graduating class of Snowball Express.  Children are eligible to attend Snowball Express until they are 18.  The Patriot Guard riders present each child who is in their final year a special shadow box full of memories.
A special part of Snowball Express is the annual talent show where the children perform for all the families to enjoy.
Please click here to see more photos from  Snowball Express XI!

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