Snowball Express started in early 2006 with a simple idea: Provide hope and new memories to the children of military fallen heroes who have died while on active duty since 9/11.
America should honor and pay tribute to the children of those military fallen heroes who have died while honorably serving since 9/11.
In December of 2006, nearly 900 family members from all across America and the world gathered in Southern California for an unforgettable holiday gathering. Kids and widows discovered they weren't alone. And they found they weren't forgotten.
It was a totally volunteer effort which came together in just a few months to create the largest all-expense-paid gathering for the families of our fallen warriors since 9/11.
We are frequently asked how and why Snowball Express started. The following paragraphs will outline the beginning of the organization that started in 2006 with a simple mission, to bring hope and new memories to the children of our military heroes who had lost their life while serving our country since September 11, 2001.
The Need for Hope:
While fighting for our county, many of our nation’s heroes write letters home to their loved ones. In 2003 when things were getting bad in Iraq and Pfc. Jesse Givens felt there was a chance he would not make it home, he wrote a letter to his wife and son that was later found in the pocket of his flak jacket. The letter especially touched the hearts of those who founded Snowball Express. We believe by writing the letter below, this hero was reaching out with the hope that his legacy and the love he had for his children and wife will never be forgotten.
I never thought I would be writing a letter like this, I really don't know where to start. I've been getting bad feelings though and well if you are reading this....
I am forever in debt to you, Dakota, and the bean. I searched all my life for a dream and I found it in you. I would like to think that I made a positve difference in your lives. I will never be able to make up for the bad. I am so sorry. The happiest moments in my life all deal with my little family. I will always have with me the small moments we all shared. The moments when you quit taking life so serious and smiled. The sounds of a beautiful boys laughter or the simple nudge of a baby unborn. You will never know how complete you have made me. Each and every one of you. You saved me from lonliness and taught me how to think beyond myself. You taught me how to live and to love. You opened my eyes to a world I never dreamed existed. I am proud of you. Stay on the path you chose. Never lose sight of what is important, you and our babies.
Dakota you are more son then I could ever ask for. I can only hope I was half the dad. I use to be your "danny" but no matter what it makes me proud that you chose me. You taught me how to care until it hurts, you taught me how to smile again. You taught me that life isn't so serious and sometimes you have to play. You have a big beautiful heart. Through life you need to keep it open and follow it. Never be afraid to be yourself. I will always be there in our park when you dream so we can still play. I hope someday you will have a son like mine. Make them smile and shine just like you. I love you Toad I hope someday you will understand why I didn't come home. Please be proud of me. Please don't stop loving life. Take in every breath like it's your first. I love you toad I will always be there with you. I'll be in the sun, shadows, dreams, and joys of your life.
Bean, I never got to see you but I know in my heart you are beautiful. I know you will be strong and big hearted just like your mom and brother. I will always have with me the feel of the soft nudges on your moms belly, and the joy I felt when we found out you were on your way. I dream of you every night, I always will. Don't ever think that since I wasn't around that I didn't love you. You were conceived of love and I came to this terrible place for love. I love you as I do your mom and brother with all my heart and soul. Please understand that I had to be gone so that I could take care of my family. I love you Bean.
I have never been so blessed as the day I met Melissa. You are my angel, soulmate, wife, lover, and best friend. I am sorry. I did not want to have to write this letter. There is so much more I need to say, so much more I need to share. A lifetime's worth. I married you for a million lifetimes. That's how long I will be with you. Please keep our babies safe. Please find it in your heart to forgive me for leaving you alone. Take care of yourself, believe in yourself, you are a strong, big hearted woman. Teach our babies to live life to its fullest tell yourself to do the same. Don't forget to take Toad to Disney World. I will be there with you. Melissa I will always want you need you and love you in my heart, mind, and soul. Do me a favor, after you tuck Toad and Bean in, give them hugs and kisses from me. Go outside look at the stars and count them. Don't forget to smile.
Many of our heroes made promises to their families planning for the future when they would return home. Unfortunately, while fighting for our freedom, many made the ultimate sacrifice and never came home. Snowball Express works to keep those promises alive for the children and surviving spouses or our nation’s heroes.
Creating New Memories:
In 2007, another unique event was planned for the week after Thanksgiving. This time, over 1,100 children and surviving parents attended as guests of Americans, corporations, and service groups who donated their time, money and resources to create another healing event. Nearly 400 family members attended Snowball Express for the first time.
In 2008 a total of 1437 attendees came to the third annual event with over 900 children attending, many for the first time. Children who had attended previous events rekindled friendships with children met at previous years and new children attending for the first time were mentored by those who had been before. Emotional healing was occurring on many different levels.
American Airlines, Oakley, BP America, Quiksilver, Panda Express, Taco Bell, Hilton Anaheim, Anaheim Marriott, Sheraton Anaheim, Sheraton Park, Southwest Airlines, AirTran Airways, JetBlue Airways, Disneyland and countless other partners and sponsors, combined with thousands of volunteers in Southern California and all across America, contributed and volunteered because it was the right thing to do. Nationally recognized organizations like Ladies Auxiliary VFW, Rotary Clubs, Vietnam Veterans of America, American Legion, Patriot Guard Riders and others stepped forward to donate their resources and gifts. Other local service clubs, churches and schools also donated resources to help the cause.
American Airlines stepped up to again to be the "Official Airline of Snowball Express", with six aircraft donated for charter purposes. All pilots and flight attendants donated their time to spend the weekend with the families. American Airline employees spent thousands of man hours donating their time to make these 5 days and these charters something for these children to always remember. Other companies from all across America are also helping to show these children and our fallen heroes’ surviving spouses that they’re not forgotten and that America cares.
In 2009, 1500 attendees came to Dallas, Texas for Snowball Express IV. The event was held in Dallas for the first time and once again American Airlines stepped up to the plate, this time providing eight charter flights for our families.
The families enjoyed a day at Southfork Ranch and an evening at the Mesquite Rodeo, an interactive day at the Dallas Convention Center capped off by a concert by Jeff Senour and the CTS Band.The final day was spent at the new Cowboy's Stadium in Arlington, Texas featuring a concert by Gary Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band.
Become a part of it.
If you’re a corporation, become a sponsor.
If you’re an organization, lend us your hearts to help mend those of the survivors in small towns and big cities all across America.
If you’re an individual, we’ll take your dollars. One or a thousand.
There are no votes in these efforts. No lobbying, no politics.
No Republicans. No Democrats. Only Americans.
These people died as Americans. Let’s step up as Americans and help their families.
Dig deep. Please.
They deserve no less.
For information about Snowball Express, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Snowball Express Non-Discrimination Policy
Snowball Express will not tolerate discrimination or harassment against or by any of its applicants, employees or volunteers on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, genetic information, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law. Snowball Express will also not tolerate any retaliation against any person who makes a good faith report of discrimination or harassment, or who cooperates in the investigation of that type of report.