FORT WORTH, Texas, Nov. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- All aboard! Snowball Express will soon be on its way. Beginning Friday, Nov. 30, more than 1,700 children and spouses of fallen military will once again travel to North Texas, arriving via American Airlines and American Eagle flights for Snowball Express – an all-expense-paid visit to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The seventh annual event runs through Tuesday, Dec. 4. Snowball Express is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization established in 2006 with the mission of bringing hope, joy and new memories to children who have lost a parent on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001.
As the official airline of Snowball Express, American and American Eagle are donating nine chartered aircraft and providing free travel on selected commercial flights for families traveling from 54 cities across the United States, as well as international locations including Puerto Rico and Guam.
"All of us at American Airlines and American Eagle are humbled by the sacrifices these families have made for our great nation," said Tom Horton, American's Chairman and CEO. "Snowball Express honors the memory of the men and women who so bravely served our country. It is a privilege for us, especially our hundreds of volunteers, to once again bring these families to Dallas/Fort Worth – our hometown – for a few days of fun and the opportunity to find new friendships and memories."
The Snowball Express flights are made possible by the American Airlines Kids In Need SM program, which provides worldwide support for children and their families, and for organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life for children. Airfare for some families will be provided by the nonprofit organization Air Compassion for Veterans, which is funded in part through a partnership with Fuel Smart, American's employee-led fuel conservation program. In keeping with its continued work to support families of the fallen, the USO (United Service Organizations) Warrior and Family Care provided a grant for this year's Snowball Express."While many of us look forward to the holiday season with excitement and anticipation of time with family and friends, the holidays can be difficult for those who have lost a loved one – especially the families of fallen military," said Francis "Buck" Kern, Executive Director and CEO of Snowball Express. "We're thankful for the support from American Airlines to help bring joy and healing to these children and spouses whose lives have been forever changed by the loss of their loved one."