Words cannot express how thankful I am for this program. Being that my husband just passed away unexpectedly four months ago, it’s the first time since August my son has smiled this much. My heart is with each and every volunteer, as are my prayers. I know that my husband is smiling down from heaven with his wonderful smile and thinking ‘Thank you’ for loving my family and ‘Thank you’ for the country I served with 21 years of Navy service.

Shannon Allen

At the end of our 5 days together I was so sad to have to say goodbye to my Snowball family. The only place on earth where talk of our loved ones and their final resting place involves pride, tears and hysterical laughter all at once. A place where there are no fifth wheels, but only belonging and understanding. A place to remember our heroes and the families they left behind. Nothing can compare to everything you have given to us this weekend. I love my Snowball Family!

Patty Stubenhofer, Widow of CPT Mark Stubenhofer, USA

The first time my son Elijah met another military surviving child was at Snowball. A young boy approached him and asked, “Your daddy died in the war too?” My son later told me that he felt safe being with other kids who didn’t know their dads either. It was then I decided that every year we were invited, I would do what I can to make sure my child built this network of families he could relate to. Several years later we have both built a strong community of support and many life long friendships through Snowball. Elijah counts down the days until take off starting in July!! I am ever so grateful for the love Dallas, Snowball, all of the sponsors and volunteers, show us.

Jessica Byrd, Widow of LCpl John Byrd II, USMC

My father Matthew F.C. Straughter gave his life and made the ultimate sacrifice for this country. This was our first year at Snowball. We heard about Snowball threw another fallen family, she is a BFF of my mother. This is the best thing my mother’s BFF could have informed her about. My mother was not sure about Snowball, so she did her research and signed us both up. While at Snowball, I had a lot fun and I got to go to Six Flags for the first time. I loved the people and I loved the hotel. The kids’ room was great! At the end of the trip, I was sad because we had to leave. Snowball is the bomb.com! Thanks again for providing myself and mother with such a great experience; it was greatly needed. Thanks for this lovely yearly event.

Serenity, 10 years old

Words are just a simple way to express the feelings you have inside……….they need meaning, thoughts, pictures sometimes to back them up. My family has been apart of snowball express since its inception. The vision and organization has been the lifeline for my kids and myself. We were two years into our grief already; my children had become quiet, withdrawn to some extent in school and in life. Attending that first year of snowball express, and all the magic and love felt there by so many strangers who really truly cared about us was just a feeling we will never ever forget. It brought them both out of their shells and put much needed smiles back on their faces………..there was no greater joy for me, than to see my kids happy again.

Each year after that, especially at that difficult time of year the holidays roll around, my kids and myself anticipated our journey to be with others who understood the pain and anguish we were going through. Year after year, the lifelong friends we made, with other families and with the volunteers who make this so very special for all of us…whom we now call “family”.

I will ALWAYS be forever grateful to all involved with the snowball express organization for the love and support they gave my family over time and for the much needed support and love we need in the future. May God continue to bless all those involved.

Mrs. Mary Bourdon and Family

This year was our first Snowball Express and while we were there, we marked our 5th month anniversary of losing my husband. It isn’t easy to put into words what Snowball Express meant to my 8-year-old daughter and me but I will try. I guess the easiest way to explain it is to simply state that it was the first time since losing my husband that I went 5 days in a row without crying. Sure, there were a few moments of filling up with tears.

However, those were tears of gratitude and pride as our group was shown so much love and respect from the citizens of DFW and the Snowball Staff and Volunteers. Many people have asked me what my favorite part of the experience was. My answer to them is also simple. Â My favorite part was having so much fun with my daughter and seeing the joy in her face and witnessing her unbridled laugh for the first time in a long time. It was 5 days of feeling a bit more normal in the most abnormal year of my life.

Jennifer Hanson, Widow of LCDR Keith Hanson, USN

It was my first year to be a part of SBE, and was amazing. I really don’t know how to say thank you for what you all have done for us. My oldest son is not much of a talker when it comes to his fathers death but he did at SBE, he got to meet some kids in his age and talk about it, and that eased my heart knowing that he did. The day we got to NC my kids already said we want to go next year again, I told them we did not even make it to Texas yet, they said we don’t care we already made new friends, and we did. The whole event was amazing there are no words to describe how unbelievable the staff is, the Patriot Guard and the rest are to us. It is like one big happy family and it truly is. I can’t wait for next year.

Kelly Estep, Widow of SSG James Estep, USA

I think you have an amazing team from volunteers, workers, sponsors, everything was so overwhelming but in a great way! I cried, I laughed and watched my children forget what they went through 8 months ago when they lost there dad, I watched them be kids because of you all and I can never thank you enough you all went above and beyond to have our families. You made our loved one who died a hero and never once that weekend were they forgotten and for that I thank you!

Amy Whistler, Widow of SSG Blake Whistler, USA

Snowball Express is great and I’m so happy we found it. Last year was our first year to attend and to be honest my oldest daughter (13 at the time) did not want to go. I talked her into going and at the end of the first night she came to me and asked if we could come back every year! You cannot imagine how happy that made me. I saw her open up and actually talk about her dad to her new friends. She has kept in contact with them over the year and was so excited to see them again this year. They all found each other right away and spent the whole 4 days together!

My younger daughter (9 at the time) still was not sure about leaving mom but this year she came out of her shell and made a new friend named Asia. She wanted to go to the kids lounge and didn’t want to leave until they had too. That just made my heart smile.

I know none of this would not be possible if it wasn’t for all the great people involved and the donations provided. I would personally like to thank everyone associated with Snowball Express. You definitely have made a difference in our lives and words cannot express how thankful we are!

Valerie Kelsey, Widow of CW3 Shannon Kelsey, USA

We Honor
SSGT Michael Bock, USMC CWO3 Michael Reece, USA SFC Donald Wilson, USA SGT Kevin Moseby, USA LTCOL Paul Bartz, USA SSGT Ryan Thomas, USAF PO3 Jesse Franklin, USN SFC Forrest Robertson, USA SSG John Kessler, USA SSG Joseph Gamboa, USA SSG Fernando Santos, USA SSG Jesse Williams, USA SGT Phillip Anderson, USA SGT Yosbel Perez, USA CAPT Daniel Eggers, USA SPC Clarence Adams III, USA SSG Leroy Webster, USA PO1 Kevin Moseby, USCG SPC Steven Jewell, USA LTCOL David Cabrera, USA PV2 Michael Griffin, USA SGT Ryan Connolly, USA SSG Du Tran, USA CAPT Mark Zampogna, USAF PFC Ricky Salas Jr, USA
As One of Our Fallen Heroes

Serving the children of our fallen military heroes Snowball Express Could Use Your Help!