The Snowball Express is an organization that remembers our fallen military heroes who will never return by creating new memories for their surviving children.
Every local event the organization puts on is referred to as a "snowflake event." The idea is that over the course of many events, the Snowball Express creates a snowball from all of the snowflakes.
On Tuesday, the Kansas City Chiefs training camp practice in St. Joseph, Mo. served as a snowflake event for more than 10 families in connection with the Snowball Express organization.
"The Kansas City Chiefs put on an incredible event to where the kids had activities," Fred Galvin, a retired member of the Marine Corps and a Snowball Express coordinator, said. "They're all playing over there now [in the Kids Zone]. They get to see professional athletes."
The day at Chiefs training camp is the third event for the Kansas City chapter this year. One of the previous events was with the Chiefs and another was a Fourth of July celebration with the Kansas City Royals.
"Kansas City is known for being the most generous city in the United States of America," Galvin added. "It's the emotional support and the remembrance that our city brings to support and respect those who have given the ultimate sacrifice."
To start the day, the Snowball Express families had a complete breakfast at the Whiskey Mansion Bed and Breakfast. Next, the families were given a motorcycle escort to the Missouri Western State campus, where they watched practice and took part in training camp activities.
Kassie Collins, a mother of two who lost her husband Gary in 2003, took great pleasure in sharing the experience with her 18-year-old daughter, Landry.
"It's been really fun," she said. "It was cool to go on the field and be so close to all them. They're huge. They're a lot bigger up close than they are on TV. I can't believe how many players are out here vying for the spots."
Collins said that it's events like the visit on Tuesday that make her feel grateful for the Snowball Express organization.
"We have been lucky enough to spend four or five years with Snowball Express and it just brings everybody together," she added. "You're with people that have been through the same experience that you have and can relate and you meet each other and then you end up being family no matter where you're from."