Martin Plowman spent his morning at the Indianapolis International Airport, but not for any typical flight. He was flying with the children of our fallen military heroes to Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas for the annual Snowball Express. The morning was filled with festivities and activities, thanks to American Airlines who provide nine charter flights to transport these military families from all corners of the United States. An entire gate area of the Indianapolis International Airport was shut down for these children and filled with a bouncy house, an IndyCar, face painting, inflatable bowling, food, and even Santa! Plowman signed autographs, posed for pictures, and played games with the kids before boarding the flight to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Upon arrival, the families were greeted at DFW with a hero’s welcome. Hundreds of American Airline employees lined the pathway from the gate to the charter busses to say thank you and applaud those families who had given so much. “I’m amazed at how much respect is given to these families,” commented Plowman. “America and American Airlines truly understand their sacrifice, and why these individuals are so special to this country. We often think of only the sacrifice of the soldier, but the family members left at home pay a steep price as well. The respect is certainly deserved.”
While staying at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Snowball Express guests will have plenty of activities in which to participate. At the hotel itself is a makeshift Neiman Marcus store where the children are able to pick out a gift to give their parent for Christmas. Plowman’s race car will also be stationed at the hotel through Saturday night, thanks to his Conquest Endurance team. Several lounges will be open throughout the afternoons and evenings to allow kids and parents free time to bond and share with their peers. As this weekend is often an emotional one where the families remember their hero, resource rooms and counselors are available throughout the entire weekend.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area has been unbelievably supportive of Snowball Express as its host city for the past four years. This year, the families will enjoy a special “Holiday Tree Lighting Festival” at the AT&T Performing Arts Center, where they have constructed a “wonderland” for the kids,complete with an ice skating rink, a giant walk-in snow globe, Santa’s courtyard, and some amazing entertainment from the cast of “Cirque Dreams.” On Saturday, they will have reserved seating at the 25th Annual Children’s Medical Center Holiday Parade, which is the largest city event of the year.
The families will also experience a trip to Six Flags Over Texas amusement park, the Interactive Windows at Neiman Marcus, the North Park Center Mall for a puppet show and shopping, and the Texas Music Project, an opportunity to work with Dallas-area professional musicians and artists. Following their work with TMP, some Snowball Express children will perform their talents at the historic Majestic Theater.
Fort Worth is opening its arms to the Snowball Express family on Sunday. The mayor will formally welcome the families at the Fort Worth Stockyards, followed by a walk of gratitude at 10:30a. This event is open to the public and an amazing way Dallas and Fort Worth friends can come support these families. Shortly after, they will see a real cattle run, spend time at the Stockyard Station, attend a rodeo at the Coliseum, and finally wrap up the day with a concert by Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan band at the world famous and world’s largest honky tonk, Billy Bob’s. The families will experience real Fort Worth Western hospitality.
Throughout each of the events, Plowman and his team will take the car to each location to allow the kids to sit in his race car, take pictures with and get autographs from Plowman, and create a memorable and unique experience for each Snowball kid. Plowman has been the Official Racing Driver of Snowball Express since August 2011 and has driven with the logo on his car, helmet, and race suit. After returning from the Indianapolis 500 Centennial Tour, a goodwill tour to thank troops overseas, Plowman dedicated is celebrity to helping those at home who also make a sacrifice – the families. A good friend introduced him to Snowball Express and he was immediately on board. During the race season, Plowman and his team host Snowball families who are local to the race track. They create a unique and special VIP experience, making each kid an official part of “Team Plowey.”
For more information on or to donate to Snowball Express, serving the children of our fallen military heroes, please visit www.snowballexpress.org. Snowball is also active on social media at www.facebook.com/snowballexpressusa and www.twitter.com/snowballexpress.
For more information on Martin Plowman, please visit www.plowey.com. He is also active on social media at www.facebook.com/officialplowey and www.twitter.com/plowey.
Phone pictures from this mornings send-off.