SALT LAKE CITY — Several Gold Star families from Utah boarded a charter flight headed to Florida on Saturday.
The flight known as the “Snowball Express” allows the children of fallen service members to experience a week at the Walt Disney World Resort.
“I see joy. I see happiness. I see excitement,” said Ricardo Chavira of the Gary Sinise Foundation. “I see families who deserve a remarkable time.”
The journey is made possible by the Gary Sinise Foundation. It is meant to help families heal after experiencing the most enormous loss.
“These families are a reflection of people who have sacrificed so much for our freedom as Americans,” Chavira said.
The Taylor family of North Ogden was welcomed aboard as many onlookers waved American flags at Salt Lake City International Airport.
“I think it’s awesome to be here for all the decorations and lights and all the people who are here to help us have a good time,” said Megan Taylor, the 14-year-old daughter of Maj. Brent Taylor.
Maj. Taylor was killed in the line of duty in November of 2018.
His children and widow, Jennie, plan to use this trip as a chance to make memories while enjoying the attractions at the Disney theme parks. They will also have the opportunity to reflect on the past.
“The one that we most want to go on is the new Star Wars ride,” said Jacob Taylor, Major Taylor’s son. “My dad used to, we always watched Star Wars movies and that just made me like them.”
The Gary Sinise Foundation relies on sponsorships from companies like American Airlines who provided the charter flight.
Donations from individuals are also welcomed. Those who would like to contribute can do so on the foundation's website.