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Arlington Welcomes Children and Families of Fallen Soldiers
By Abby Sehgal
Posted on December 12, 2017, December 12, 2017

More than 200 Arlington residents lined the entrance to Alley Cats Entertainment to form a Walk of Gratitude on Monday, December 11, 2017, to welcome the children and spouses of fallen soldiers to The American Dream City.

The Snowball Express, an organization that honors fallen military service members, brought the 400 children and parents together as part of a weekend of activities and events in the DFW area. The experience allows these families to support each other, bond and create happy memories in the wake of loss.

"The Snowball Express story is a great one, and we are honored to be involved," said Bryan Weatherford, the Marketing Director for Alley Cats Entertainment."Even though the population of Arlington continues to grow, the "small town feel' is alive and well at events such as Snowball Express. Arlington citizens have a sincere gratitude for the the sacrifice of the military and their families."

After walking through the cheering crowd and waving flags, the Snowball Express families entered Alley Cats for a day of bowling, arcade games, laser tag and rock wall climbing.

"We are continuously working to make our city more veteran-friendly," Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said, as he welcomed the families of the Snowball Express."You all are important to us."

State Representative Tony Tinderholt, a veteran with 21 years of service in the Air Force, and Arlington City Council Member Kathryn Wilemon were also in attendance. Tinderholt said that the families of fallen soldiers can sometimes be forgotten, and he praised the Snowball Express for its work and dedication.

Andrew, 8, was participating in Snowball Express for the second time, and said he liked the arcade games best. When asked how it was to spend time with other kids who had lost a parent in the military, he said it felt good.

Andrew's mother, Joann, was connected to Snowball Express through her state representative in Mineola, Texas. She said the experience has allowed her to connect with other parents who have experienced what she has gone through.

"I've met more women and become friends with them," she said."It's good to be able to reach out. You need a tribe to raise kids."

Walk of Gratitude participants at the Snowball Express event included:

  • Sam Houston High School drum line and drill team
  • Members of the Arlington Fire and Arlington Police Departments
  • Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • UT Arlington cheerleaders and mascot, Blaze
  • Arlington Rotary Clubs
  • Arlington Chamber of Commerce
  • Arlington church groups
  • Arlington public and private school groups
  • Storm troopers and Star Wars characters from the 501st Legion
  • Texas Rangers mascot Ranger Captain
  • Dallas Wings Head Coach Fred Williams and mascot Lightning
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