Orlando, Florida — Based on all the smiles from this group of military families at Walt Disney World in Orlando, you may not know that the holiday season can be quite difficult for those here.
“Christmas was one of the favorite holidays. When he passed, I didn’t care anything about Christmas,” said Savannah Scallon of her husband, Army Sgt. Brendan Scallon, who died in 2015.
The Gary Sinise Foundation’s annual Snowball Express understands. The actor’s nonprofit throws a massive party each December to give families of fallen heroes from across the U.S. a reason to celebrate together.
“Here, they feel normal,” Scallon said of her children. “And so I feel…it’s a relief.”
Behind that happiness is an army of volunteers that helps make all of this fun free for more than 1,800 spouses and children, who were flown to Orlando for the five-day all-expenses-paid vacation.
Corcynthia Williams and her daughters Georgia and Jacklyn lost Timothy Williams in 2018. They are here for the second time.
“They get to just step into a world where they get to be kids and experience wonder and magic. It’s something that I will be forever grateful for,” Corcynthia said.
“It helps me meet new people who understand what I’ve been through,” Georgia added. “Because people back home, they don’t understand, like they haven’t had a similar loss.”
Nothing can replace that loss, but this is a reminder that there can still be joy.
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