Forrest Gump Star Gary Sinise Takes 1,000 Children Of Fallen Soldiers To Disney World
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A charity set up by a star of Forrest Gump has taken 1,000 children of fallen servicemen and women to Disney World.
The Gary Sinise Foundation runs annual holidays taking hundreds of 'Gold Star Children' and their surviving family members from across the United States, on a special five-day trip.
This year, more than 1,750 relatives of military heroes were flown over to Orlando for the experience of a lifetime.
Sinise announced news of this year's trip on his Twitter account, posting a photograph of families on board the plane just before take-off.
The 64-year-old said: "Today begins our GSF Snowball Express #14. Over 1000 Gold Star Children travel with surviving parent or guardian, over 1,750 in all, via our travel partner @AmericanAir to Disney World as part of our @GarySiniseFound Snowball Express program."
Posting a short video of him welcoming one kid on board, Sinise added: "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!"
Photographs from the weekend have been shared showing the children and their families enjoying Walt Disney World.
Sinise, who famously played Forrest Gump's commanding officer Lieutenant Dan Taylor in the cult film, has been working with the Snowball Express for more than a decade - even performing for the children with his Lt. Dan Band.
Then four years later, in 2011, he created the Gary Sinise Foundation, which took over the responsibility for the Snowball Express two years ago.
Since then, more than 3,450 children have been helped by their initiative.
Describing the trips, the charity's website says: "The holidays can be especially challenging for grieving families. Each December, we host a five-day experience for 1,750+ children of the fallen and their surviving parent or guardian.
"As a therapeutic retreat with a blend of fun and inspiring programs, these families can lean on their peers for support. And this year we're bringing Snowball Express to Walt Disney World Resort!
"No matter where these families are in the grieving process, we hope to inspire them to believe anything is possible. By providing guilt-free fun and beneficial resources in a stress-free environment, we're creating a community to learn, grow, and make lasting memories with new friends."