Snowball Express taking military families to Dallas

Published: Dec. 9, 2017 at 8:05 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 9, 2017 at 10:11 PM CST
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Avery and her mom showing off buttons of her dad James, who died in Iraq. (Source: Eric...
Avery and her mom showing off buttons of her dad James, who died in Iraq. (Source: Eric Pointer/ KSLA)

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Saturday won't be just any ordinary day for a special group of families.

Snowball Express is taking 1,600 children and spouses of fallen military veterans on an all-expense-paid trip to Dallas, Fort Worth, Texas.

To start off the holiday fun, Saturday morning Shreveport Regional Airport hosted a send-off party for the families around 10:30 a.m.

Snowball Express families from all over the country will spend a couple of days in the area participating in a series of activities. Snowball Express is a nonprofit organization with the goal of “Serving the Children of Our Fallen Military Heroes.”

That includes Chelsea Adair and her daughter Avery. Chelsea's husband James was killed in Iraq back in 2007 while she was 6 months pregnant.

"It was hard, absolutely but I have living proof that you can survive," said Chelsea.

She says that proof is her daughter who looks forward to the trip every year. They see it as a way to honor her husband's memory.

"She really never knew him, but it's something that lets her connect with other kids with circumstances similar," said Chelsea.

She says those connections are important for her daughter to know that part of her husband's life.  And she also gets to make similar connections with other widows.

Although this is Avery's fifth year to go, Chelsea says because of previous work conflicts, this is her first time to experience it.

Part of the experience started at the airport at the send-off party. A lead agent with American Airlines, Latoris Williams helped decorate the airport.

"I put all my love and effort into the decorations to try to give it a little bit of life," said Williams.

Her father also served in the military so she says this project was very important to her.

"Being that my dad has served and actually returned back home, this played a very important role," said Williams. "Because it's Christmas and I understand the fact of not having a parent around during the season is tough."

Upon arrival, the families will participate in a series of activities starting with a Texas-sized welcome, including "A Walk of Gratitude" and a private concert by Academy Award-nominated actor Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band.

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