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Snowball Express IV - Thanks to all Supporters!

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Well-known member
Nov 27, 2001
My fellow aviation enthusiasts,

Snowball Express IV has begun and nearly 1300 children (ages 5-18) and spouses of military fallen heroes who have died while on active duty in combat or non-combat related incidents since 9/11 arriving into the DFW area from as far away as Australia, Guam, Europe as well as nearly all 50 states to experience an all expense, 5 day, 4 night gathering of fun and healing.

Beginning tomorrow for those flying you may hear the call sign, "Snowball Express X" (American Airlines has donated 8 chartered aircraft stopping at 24 airports along the way) being used. Please wish those crews a safe flight as they will be filled with children who pay the price of freedom for us all each day and will be smiling all the way to Texas! (Pray for good weather!!) The same will be occurring on Sunday, Dec 13th as the families are departing back home.

You may also be at one of the nearly 70 airports around the country that will have families departing on American Airlines regularly scheduled flights as well as Alaska Airlines, US Airways, Delta (NWA), United, Horizon, Piedmont and several others....thankfully after contacting each and explaining who these families were, they all waived the extra fees and are arranging for free parking for the families. We hear a lot of negatives about airlines these days but I have nothing but the highest of praise for these carriers for what they have done to help start these families travels to SBE IV in the right way.

For some of these children, the last time a grateful nation showed its thanks for the loss of their father or mother was on the worse day of their life when they were given a folded flag in honor of their fallen hero. Tomorrow at nearly 70 airports across the country those children will see strangers such as Patriot Guard Riders, airline and airport employees, Gold Star Wives and Mothers as well as many other veterans and civilians who simply want to wish to show their support, say thanks and wish them a safe and happy time while being with other children who are just like them.

We all come to Flightinfo because we all have one thing in common, our interest/love/support/involvement in flying.

However, for these children there are no or very few opportunities to gather and talk about their "uniqueness". For many of these children, this will be the first time they have ever met anyone like themselves and will realize they are not alone and that Americans haven't forgotten.

Why put this story on FI when there are other charities that also do great things for veterans and others?

The reason is simple, the roots of why SBE exists is because of service provided by 5 Southwest crew members in 1998 that inspired one person to work with others to eventually create the first Snowball Express in Dec 2006.

Without that flight crew doing what they probably thought was their "regular" job on a 3 hr delayed flight by keeping passengers informed, watering and feeding them along with typical SWA entertainment, the result was the creation of memories for one boy who talked about the flight for months and months. His father was so motivated by the overall experience, the roots of SBE were created and the rest as they say is history.

Now over 10 years later nearly 2000 children and close to 800 spouses have had the life changing experience of being with others who have suffered this tragic loss by attending one or more of the last 3 SBE in Anaheim, CA.

A big thanks to the hundreds and probably approaching thousands of American Airlines and American Eagle volunteers (crews are donating their time today and tomorrow to fly the charters...many are volunteers for the entire 5 day event) who allow SBE to occur as well as to the support of the AA management team for making the decision to support this program even in tough economic times. It would not be happening without their support along with the support of hundreds of other sponsors.

Please visit these news links and videos to learn more about this year's SBE and last year's SBE.

Thanks for taking the time to read and learn. If you know of any families who might be eligible to attend in the future, please send those families to www.snowballexpress.org and register for next year's SBE V. You will change the life of a child if their family registers.

SBE IV Article - Dec 8, 2009

Snowball Express Facebook

SBE III Youtube Video - Gary Sinise Narrates

This year's Snowball Express trip runs Dec. 9-13. The families will enjoy numerous activities, including:

-- Ranch & Rodeo Day - Visits to the world-famous "Dallas" Southfork Ranch,
as well as the Mesquite Championship Rodeo.
-- "Day in the Life of Texas" event at the Dallas Convention Center.
-- Day with the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Mavericks, which includes meeting
with the Dallas Cowboys football players and the Dallas Cowboys
Cheerleaders for football and cheerleading clinics. Entertainment will
be provided by award-winning actor Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band.
-- The Dallas Mavericks have also generously donated American Airlines
Center seats for Snowball families to attend the Mavericks' Dec. 12 game
against the Charlotte Bobcats.
-- Several restaurants including Eddie Dean's, Mi Cocina, Humperdink's, and
Chili's-as well as Ben E. Keith Company-are donating meals to feed
Snowball families
Saw/heard Snowball 3 Heavy (AA 757) flight leaving JFK today. The FO was pretty funny when she kept correcting the callsign with ATC (ground got it right, Tower and Departure were a little confused....). Double thumbs up to everyone involved with this event. Godspeed.
Was in MCI with Snowball IV (AA MD-80) the other day. Couldn't figure out the callsign at first. Southwest asked the tower about it and the supervisor let us know what was going on. It was a good feeling, knowing what those guys were doing. Hats off to them!

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