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Volunteers help local Gold Star families board ‘Snowball Express’ at Norfolk International Airport

Volunteers help local Gold Star families board ‘Snowball Express’ at Norfolk International Airport
Posted at 8:12 PM, Dec 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 20:13:21-05

NORFOLK, Va. - The holiday season can be difficult for families of fallen military heroes.

But on Saturday, December 7, some volunteers came together to support those families and help them board the "Snowball Express." 

The Gary Sinise Foundation sponsors this event each year. It's a trip that sends thousands of Gold Star families to Disney World.

Gold Star families are those who lost a loved one in military service.

Navy Sailors and other volunteers from Hampton Roads showed up at Norfolk International Airport on Saturday to spend time with the kids and give them a festive send-off.

For the kids, this was a chance for them to understand that they're not alone.

"But going down to Florida and being around other Gold Star children allows them to have the opportunity to just be kids. To have fun. To realize it's okay to laugh and it's okay to have connections," said Melissa Black, Installation Gold Star Coordinator at Naval Station Norfolk.

The five-day trip also provides counseling and other resources that allow the families to connect over their shared experience.