Gary Sinise has had a very consistent film career in Hollywood. His most popular role may be as Lieutenant Dan in 1994’s “Forest Gump.” Aside from his long movie resume, the actors list of good deeds may be just as long.
Every December, since 2006—the actor’s nonprofit—The Gary Sinise Foundation has arranged an all-expense paid Disney trip for the Gold Star families of military personnel who’ve died since September 11. The trip is called “Snowball Express.”
Snowball Express was originally inspired by a letter a soldier left for his wife to only be opened if he were to perish. He sadly did, and when she read the letter one of the things he wanted was for the entire family to take a trip to Disneyland.
According to ABC7—Sinise, through his namesake foundation, partnered with American Airlines to give the gold star families a five-day “healing retreat” at Disney. In addition to time in the theme parks, those participating in the trip will also be offered counseling and other financial, medical and educational support services.
“We want them to know that they’re appreciated and loved. We want them to feel the spirit of Snowball, which is healing, hope, happiness, and joy,” Sinise said. “That’s what this whole thing is about: making sure these children know that we do not forget what they are going through.”