Gary Sinise Foundation Hosts More Than 700 Families Of Fallen Military Heroes At Disney World

December 7, 2023

Today's good news story comes from Orlando, Florida.

This past week, the Gary Sinise Foundation hosted more than 1,800 children and spouses of fallen military heroes at Disney World.

snowball express
Credit: Gary Sinise Foundation

The holidays can be especially challenging for grieving families.

Each December, the Gary Sinise Foundation hosts a five-day "Snowball Express" event at Disney World for families of fallen military heroes.

"Over the course of 5 days, these deserving families were given the opportunity to make new memories, experience the magic of Disney World, and connect with the only people who truly understand the healing journey they are on...each other," Sinise said.

gary sinese disney world
Credit: Gary Sinise Foundation

As part of the retreat, a remembrance garden was established with hundreds of American flags representing the heroes the families lost and their sacrifices.

Families also participated in a "Walk of Gratitude" at Magic Kingdom Park, where cast members lined the street, greeting them with a hero's welcome as families made their way toward Cinderella’s Castle.

During the walk, families wrote personal messages to their fallen hero on a scroll, then the children of fallen military heroes rang bells to sent those messages to those they lost.

Families were also treated to a concert in EPCOT by Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band.

"I cannot express what an impact this made on the kids," said Rachel Lavana Alquaddomi. "Loss is an incredibly isolating experience, but Snowball gave us a sense of community and hope. It helped us build new relationships with other survivor families, who continue to be cherished friends. We are so grateful! And, the kids had a fantastic time and still talk about it often!"

Although the circumstances that brought these families together weighs on his heart, Sinise says he is thankful that he can embrace them and honor them.

"It's always an honor to wrap my arms around them and remind them we do not forget their hero," Sinise said.

"As we approach the holiday season, I am so glad that we are able to bring these deserving families together to create new and wonderful memories at the most magical place on earth, Walt Disney World."

Click Here For The Most Popular On Sunny Skyz