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Gary Sinise Foundation Puts On Annual ‘Snowball Express’ Disney Trip For Military Families

Photo courtesy of Gary Sinise Foundation on Instagram

Gary Sinise Foundation Puts On Annual ‘Snowball Express’ Disney Trip For Military Families

By Movieguide® Contributor

The Gary Sinise Foundation and Walt Disney World Resort recently partnered to give families of military heroes a vacation they would never forget. 

The Gary Sinise Foundation’s “Snowball Express” program returned to the theme park for the first time since 2019. 

Almost 2,000 children, surviving spouses, and family members of fallen military heroes were welcomed to the park, where they enjoyed a day of fun, as well as moments to bond with other families. 

“I’ve had several mothers come up to me, with tears in their eyes, and say how grateful they are as moms to know that their children are with other children who experienced similar things,” Donna Palmer, the foundation’s executive director, shared

She continued, “That feeling of comfort and connection means so much to them.”

One attendee at the event shared, “I am completely overwhelmed by how amazing it has been. You just feel the love.”

The Gary Sinise Foundation’s VP of Programs, Jim Ravella, echoed those sentiments. 

“I hope [the families] will take away Gary’s desire that they will know they are not forgotten,” Ravella explained. “When they know people care enough to do something like this, then that life mattered.”

Sinise frequently puts on events like this for families of fallen servicemen and women. Movieguide® previously reported:

Gary Sinise’s Lt. Dan Band headlined at a Nashville concert in late July, honoring 250 families of fallen service members and the most recent graduates from the actor’s Snowball Express program.

“When they can see that they’re not alone and they can see that so many people love them and care about them because we’ve got so many volunteers and people that care about the program and care about these kids that come together year after year. I mean they go back and they’re lifted up,” Sinise said.

Movieguide® previously reported on Sinise’s dedication to the families of fallen service members. In 2019, his Snowball Express program hosted over 1,000 families at Disney World.

While the pandemic has taken Disney World off the table, the FORREST GUMP star continues to find ways to help military and first responder families.

“I’ve been playing for these kids since 2007, and I’ve been playing every year since,” Sinise said. “I play for free and it’s just because I want to be part of the mission and to use the music to lift people up.”

In late July, Sinise treated families to a weekend of fun activities, culminating in his band’s performance at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, where 250 flags were displayed in honor of the fallen family members.

Sinise and his foundation continually support these children, and Dylan Simon shared the organization’s impact on his life after his father’s died while serving in Iraq.

“This organization does such a good job of making you feel that absence but also trying to bring it together, really trying to love us,” Simon said.

For those who want to support veterans and the families of fallen service members, Sinise recommends “just taking the time to pat somebody on the back and to reach out and touch them … to go where they were struggling and try to show support to them.”

He added, “If they feel like you care enough to stop by or to reach out or to ask them how they’re doing and ask them what they need, and maybe try to provide some services and support to them. That will make a huge difference.”

“We want them to know that we will not forget what they went through and we’re here for them always,” Sinise said.

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.


4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

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