COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Christmas came early for 13 families in Colorado Springs as they boarded the Snowball Express!
Gold Star families are getting ready to enjoy an all-expense paid trip to Disney World. The event pays for families who have lost a loved one while they served in the military and died in active duty.
The 13 families in Colorado Springs are joining more than 1700 others who have also lost someone in Orlando, Florida.
Among them is a nine-year-old boy named Killian Fisk. He said waking up was the hardest part. "I had to wake up super early and like 4:50," Fisk said.
Funding the Snowball Express is lead by Gary Sinise Foundation's and sponsored by American Airlines. Colorado Springs was the first flight of many today picking up more families throughout the day.
Audrey Loughmiller, a mom and her daughter Emma said they've supported the cause for years, but had to wait until Emma was old enough to participate themselves. Emma's father died when she was just four months old. Emma told KRDO she had no trouble sleeping at all. "I was over-hyper, excited," she said.
Dozens of volunteers packed the Colorado Springs American terminal getting ready to send these families off. Among the volunteers was the Colorado Patriot Guard Riders. Their state spokesman, Bob McCune said, "these families have gone through so much and anything we can do is well worth getting up this early to do it."
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers was also there to support the families getting ready to get on the plane. He said, "We're a community with a lot of Gold Star families because we've got so much military and the least we can do is support them in a way like this."
The families should be heading back home in about a week.