Forty-one military family members will have a very special holiday this year. On Saturday, December 9, the special group will join more than 1,600 children and spouses of fallen U.S. military members and depart MCI on an all-expense-paid journey to Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, for the 12th annual Snowball Express.

While many look forward to the holiday season with excitement and anticipation of times with family and friends, the holidays can be difficult for those who have lost a loved one-especially the families of our fallen military.

Snowball Express is a nonprofit organization with the goal of “Serving the Children of Our Fallen Military Heroes.” Snowball Express is bringing hope and new happy memories to the children of military heroes who have died while on active duty since September 11, 2001.

As the official airline of Snowball Express, American Airlines is providing the majority of the air travel, and all flight crews and hundreds of team member volunteers are donating their time to participate in this special program. Eleven chartered American aircraft will depart from numerous cities including Kansas City where the families will depart to DFW. Free parking for the families is provided by the Kansas City’s Aviation Department’s off-airport valet parking Park Air Express.

While in the Dallas/Fort Worth-area, the families will participate in a series of activities starting with a Texas-sized welcome, including: a Walk of Gratitude honoring their sacrifice, a “knight” of jousting fun at Medieval Times and a private concert by Academy Award-nominated actor Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band.

Michelle Malven