Families of fallen service members take Snowball Express to Disney World


ORLANDO, Fla. (WTHR) - Hundreds of family members of fallen servicemen and women are spending the week at Disney World thanks to a famous actor.

The foundation founded by Gary Sinise sends the families to Florida each year as part of the "Snowball Express." Families flew to Orlando over the weekend on 13 donated American Airlines charter flights with volunteer crews, WESH-TV reported.

It's the 14th year for the Snowball Express, which was started in 2006 with a letter written by a fallen soldier to his wife, which was only to be opened if he died in battle. One of the soldier's wishes in the letter was that his family visit Disneyland. Because of that letter, the Gary Sinise Foundation started the annual tradition.

This year, more than 1,750 families of Gold Star children traveled to Disney World for a five-day trip. Some of those families flew out of Indianapolis International Airport, where Santa Claus and the Colts Cheerleaders were on hand to help send them on their way.

Once in the Magic Kingdom, the families take part in all of the park's festivities, including being honored in the Main Street U.S.A. parade.

Sinise is best known for his role as Lt. Dan Taylor in "Forrest Gump."

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