Gary Sinise, the famous actor who is best known for his role as Lieutenant Dan Taylor in the award-winning 1994 film Forrest Gump, also has a charitable organization that helps children and families of fallen soldiers enjoy the holidays with people who are also grieving under similar circumstances.
This past weekend, on Saturday, December 7th, the actor’s organization, the “Gary Sinise Foundation” took about 1,700 children and family members of fallen soldiers to Orlando, Florida for a free five-day trip to Disney World.
Sinise has been doing this retreat every year since 2006, when a soldier wrote a letter wishing that his family got the chance to visit Disney World. The soldier never made it home, but his letter was seen by an around the world.
In response, Sinise began the Snowball Express initiative, which is a yearly charitable effort to make that soldier’s wish come true for many other families. Even if they aren’t there to see it for themselves, at least their families can have that experience.
Some photos and videos from the trip were posted on the actor’s official Twitter account this week.
This charter left Los Angeles this morning with 91 kids, 176 in all, and I got to take these photos with them before they left. I’ll join up in a few days. Have fun kids! We love you! pic.twitter.com/jPRuZ0iuIp
— Gary Sinise (@GarySinise) December 7, 2019
On the website for the Gary Sinise Foundation, the trips are described as “therapeutic retreats” for the holidays that offer both fun and inspiring programs.
The website also speaks about how the trips are good for these families because it allows them to share some time with people who understand their unique life situation.
In addition to this massive yearly retreat, the Gary Sinise Foundation also hosts other events throughout the year so these families can meet up on a regular basis.
The other activities include baseball games, arts & educational opportunities, camping trips, and many other family activities.
The foundation’s website also says that there are over 3,455 children and family members who have joined the organization in the past year.