WASHINGTON (NNS) -- More than 1,800 family members who lost a loved one while on active military service will meet in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, Dec. 11-15 as the 11th annual Gold Star Snowball Express rolls into town.
The Navy Gold Star Program, run by Navy Installations Command (NIC), will have staff members representing several regions in attendance at the Snowball Express event. This will allow survivors to connect with the program and learn more about activities and resources within their local communities.
"The Navy Gold Star Program will be one of many survivor support organizations present to help ensure that survivors know where they can go for help, no matter their concern," said Lisa Bauch, NIC Navy Gold Star analyst. "We aim to connect the families of the fallen with the resources necessary to ensure that they know they are still a part of the Navy family, and that their loved ones are not forgotten."
Family members from all around the world, representing all branches of service are expected to be in attendance.
"Various community organizations and businesses sponsor this all inclusive event," said Bauch. "They embrace this group of people who have lost so much."
In addition to meeting fellow families who understand their loss, attendees and the city of Fort Worth will participate in the annual Walk of Gratitude, according to Bauch. This event allows the community to applaud these families, while they parade through the Fort Worth Stockyards. The parade culminates in a memorial ceremony and balloon release in remembrance of their fallen loved ones.
Attendees are treated to variety shows by professional entertainers and sponsored entertainment. Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth will host the families for a special concert by Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band. Throughout the week, attendees will be given opportunities to learn more about the resources available to them.
Even though the Snowball Express has been in existence for 11 years, the Navy Gold Star Program is still early in its involvement.
"This is the third year that the Navy Gold Star program will be supporting this fantastic event," said Bauch. "We are looking forward to the opportunity to meet with our survivors, and to engage with these families."
Navy Installations Command is comprised of approximately 52,000 military and civilian personnel worldwide responsible for the operations, maintenance, and quality-of-life programs to support the Navy's fleet, fighters, and their families.
For more information, visit http://www.navy.mil, http://www.facebook.com/usnavy, or http://www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more information about the Snowball Express, visit http://www.snowballexpress.org/.
For more information on the Navy Gold Star program visit, http://www.navygoldstar.com/.
For more news from Commander, Navy Installations Command, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cni/ or http://www.cnic.navy.mil/.