The Gary Sinise Foundation is proud to debut its first-ever virtual Snowball Express. With the health and safety of participating Gold Star families and surviving spouses our top priority, this year’s weekend-long celebration and gratitude will feature celebrity guests, an entertaining opening ceremony, resource groups designed to aid the families in the grieving process, and a special virtual concert put on by Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band.
“With the support of our partners and sponsors, the Gary Sinise Foundation Snowball Express has been able to carry on a message of gratitude, remembrance, and appreciation for these incredibly deserving families. Our Snowball Express initiative provides an important space for these families to meet each other, connect, and through this network of support, they come to know they are not alone,” said Gary Sinise.
“We want to create moments of joy and new, happy memories for these families before the holidays, which is a very difficult time for a child who has lost a parent - and through this important GSF initiative we let them know that their loved ones - a mom or dad or a spouse who died in military service – will never be forgotten.”
The virtual celebration starts today, December 4 and runs through Sunday, December 6. But even before the kickoff to Snowball Express, families and surviving spouses have already received a special gift to prepare them for the coming festivities. In partnership with volunteers and staff from Walt Disney World Resort, specially marked packages were mailed to 2,054 families across the U.S. Inside each box was a Gary Sinise Foundation t-shirt, a Mickey Mouse-shaped Rice Krispy treat, a bell, and much more.
This year, we created an interactive, virtual walk-through of the Remembrance Garden with a flag representing the fallen hero from each of the more than 2,000 Gold Star families in the program. Families can search and directly find the flag and placard honoring their loved one. Click here to read more and see our Founder & Chairman, Gary Sinise, talk about Remembrance Garden and take a tour of Virtual Remembrance Garden 2020.
The Walk of Gratitude ceremony will be led by Gary Sinise from Los Angeles and Mickey Mouse from the Walt Disney World Resort. Families have already written personal messages to their fallen hero on a scroll, and the children will then ring bells to send the messages, all with the help of a little Disney magic, to the moms and dads they lost, but not forgotten.
We’re excited for celebrity appearances and family fun activities like virtual dance parties and karaoke. Throughout the next three days, we’ll also have peer-to-peer support groups, counseling services, application support for educational scholarships, financial counseling and assistance, and more resources for participants.
Take a behind the scenes look on how the Saturday night Lt. Dan Band concert came together by following along with Gary in the video shown below.
Gary Sinise Foundation Snowball Express is made possible by our generous donors and supporters like you, and our corporate partners including American Airlines, WoodmenLife, Aerotek, Lowe’s, Highland Capital Management, Sunbelt Rentals, American Tire Distributors, and Barefoot Wine.
We invite you to follow along on the Foundation’s social media to stay up to date with each day of Snowball Express. Check out photos and videos of families nationwide participating in the magic. And consider donating to the Gary Sinise Foundation to honor the sacrifices of our nation’s Gold Star families and surviving spouses.