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The Gary Sinise Foundation’s Snowball Express, which gathers Gold Star families of fallen US military service members together at Disney World for five days of support and fun, was once again in full swing this weekend — and they certainly had the weather for it. This year, American Airlines flew 1,722 children and their guardians to Orlando for the event. AA reports that around 1,000 employees volunteered their time, which the company says is an employee favorite — and it’s clear that’s the case.

12 AA chartered flights gathered the families from all over the United States for the journey down to Orlando (MCO).

Sinise, who famously played the Lieutenant Dan in the movie Forrest Gump, has been involved with the Snowball Express for 12 years, and last year made it an official program of his foundation.

The trip is about more than just fun (although we’re pretty sure most families were looking forward to events like the Lt. Dan Band concert). It also is an opportunity for these families to find support. The Gary Sinise Foundation supports veterans, first responders and their families, and provides resources for counseling, college scholarships and help with medical and military benefits. For more information visit the foundation’s website.

Featured Image by @RossFeinstein via Twitter

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