Snowball Express, the nonprofit organization that brings the families of fallen military service members together for a weekend of good memories and hope, has decided to base the event out of Fort Worth this year.
The fun-filled weekend brought nearly 1,800 surviving military spouses and children from across the country to Dallas last year, and the group made a one-day visit to Fort Worth. Snowball Express officials said they got such an overwhelming welcome in Cowtown that they will house the families in Fort Worth in December.
“Fort Worth is such an incredibly welcoming community. When we came here in 2012 and 2013, the people of Fort Worth turned out in large numbers to let the families know they appreciate their sacrifice and that their sacrifice has not been forgotten,” said Robert Wood, a a Snowball Express board member.
The 2013 visit to Fort Worth included a reception at Sundance Square with local dignitaries, the Texas Boys Choir, the USO Show Troop, Santa Claus and the Grinch. The families also went to the Fort Worth Zoo and to a concert by actor Gary Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band.
Though the 2014 events have not been finalized, Wood said that organizers hope that the families will enjoy the easy walkability of downtown, with Sundance Square, the Fort Worth Water Gardens and the John F. Kennedy Tribute within reach, and that they will probably have at least some of the events at the Fort Worth Convention Center.
The Fort Worth Zoo and the Fort Worth Stockyards will also be up for grabs to keep the kids entertained.
Councilman W.B. “Zim” Zimmerman, who has helped coordinate Fort Worth’s involvement with the event, said it is fitting for it to come to Fort Worth, which has a rich history of military involvement.
“We are excited about it because these are military families and we are a military town,” he said. “We talk about being ‘cowboys and culture,’ but if you look, our heritage is steeped in support of and being involved in the military culture. We thought it was a natural fit to have them over here.
“Our military families sacrifice so much, and this is a way to honor, support and help with the healing process for those who have lost a spouse in the military,” Zimmerman said. “It is a time for everyone to just forget about what is going on and to have fun. And it is just great for everyone involved — the families, the volunteers. There are no losers for anyone in this.”
To donate or volunteer for the organization, visit www.snowballexpress.org.