Grief and Healing as the Snowball Express Wraps Up
As WoodmenLife volunteers worked in the Memorial Heroes Garden at the Snowball Express, each person experienced many humbling things. Children of these Gold Star families would sit or lie down next to their parent’s flag. Some would write notes or draw pictures for their lost loved one and leave them at the base of the flag. One child threw a football around at the base of his father’s flag. Spouses of fallen heroes walked through the twists and turns of the garden to find their husband or wife. Sometimes by themselves, and other times with their children by their sides.
Tuesday was the fifth and final day of the Gary Sinise Foundation event, and there were great activities for the families to enjoy. There was:
- A Snowball Express Talent Show, where all the acts were performed by Gold Star children
- A Superhero Dinner hosted by famous chef Robert Irvine
- A performance at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex by the Lt. Dan Band to wrap up the night
Also that night Gary Sinise walked through the Memorial Heroes Garden and met Bernadine Stanaland, one of WoodmenLife’s volunteers from Pensacola Chapter 1. Sinise asked her to thank WoodmenLife for providing the flags and for all the dedicated volunteers who helped guests find their family members’ flag. Bernadine said Sinise was very impressed by the beautiful presentation of flags for our fallen service men and women.
This powerful event shows the importance of supporting family, community and country. More than 1,700 family members of our fallen heroes attended the Snowball Express this year. Few of us can relate to what these families have been through, but we can continue to support events like this and give back to our communities through volunteering and other good works.
Please take a few moments to learn more about the Gary Sinise Foundation and the Snowball Express.
Throughout this holiday season and into the new year, let us be grateful and mindful. Let us never forget those who gave their lives for this country and the families they left behind.