Indiana Children Take Off On Snowball Express

Trip Aids Children Of Fallen Troops

Children of fallen troops took off from Indianapolis Friday on a special journey for the holidays, the Snowball Express.

Dozens of children from Indiana and surrounding states came together for the trip, a gift from volunteers and American Airlines to try to brighten the holidays for children who lost their mother or father in U.S. military action since 9/11, RTV6's Julie Pursley reported.

The children, along with relatives, are taking an all expense paid trip to Dallas for the event, a gathering of similar families from all over the country.

Amy Smith's husband, Cpl. Darrell Smith, was killed in Iraq in 2003. The Snowball Express helps her children through the healing process.

"It does so much for the kids. They meet so many people who are in the same situation as them, and they get to interact," Smith said. "Once they meet, they are friends for life."

"It helps us understand each other, and we have new friends who actually understand us," said Hanna Smith, Amy's daughter.

The trip, which runs through Tuesday, will allow families to visit Six Flags and take in a rodeo.

The children also get to talk with IndyCar driver Martin Plowman, the official driver for the Snowball Express.

"I was just blown away by the special character these kids and their moms have, especially after losing a loved one," Plowman said.

2011 is the sixth year the event has taken flight, with the help of donations from the public and various businesses. About 1,700 people are on the trip this year.

More: snowballexpress.org

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