Hampton Roads service members send off Gold Star families for annual Snowball Express trip


NORFOLK, Va. – Dec 7. 2019 Sailors from Hampton Roads commands volunteered for Snowball Express, a Gary Sinise Foundation initiative which serves the families of fallen military heroes. This year, the families travel to Disney World for five days.

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Hundreds of military service members from around Hampton Roads volunteered Saturday to send off Gold Star families for an annual holiday trip.

The trip, called the Snowball Express, is sponsored by the Gary Sinse Foundation and serves the children of fallen military members. The event happens around the holidays, as those times can be difficult for families who have lost their loved ones.

This year, Gold Star families are traveling to Disney World from Dec. 7 to Dec. 11.

Nearly 200 sailors from several Hampton Roads commands and more than 100 soldiers from Ft. Eustis participated in this year’s send-off from Norfolk.

“The children and [parents/guardians] that are participating in Snowball are often moved to tears when they see the love and support from hundreds of Sailors that have shown up to see them off and welcome them home,” said Melissa Black, Gold Star coordinator for Naval Station Norfolk. “What an honor and privilege it is for me to be witness to this beautiful expression of love and compassion.”

More than 1,750 Gold Star families travel for the Snowball Express each year.

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