Red, white and blue aren’t exactly Christmas colors. But it’s the reason a group of kids, who are total strangers, feel a family connection this holiday.
“I love them and I don’t even know them,” 17-year-old Lorimar Cintron said.
“They’ve gone through the same thing and they’re gonna be nice no matter what,” 12-year-old Dustin Henze added.
Since 9/11, more than 8,000 kids have lost a parent to war. About 10 years ago, the Snowball Express -- a week-long event celebrating families of fallen service members -- started as a way to bring those kids from all over the country together for a week of fun during the holidays.
Monday the kids spent the day at at Strikz Entertainment in Frisco.
Kimberly Lopez, a 17-year-old attendee, lost her dad, Corporal William Lopez Feliciano, in Iraq when she was just five, three days before Christmas.
“It was like we were spending Christmas alone. Like completely alone,” Kimberly said.
All of these kids say what makes the holidays even harder is that friends at home, while supportive, just don’t understand.
“They don’t really know how it feels to not be able to say I love you or hug him or tell him how you feel,” Cintron said.
“But then, when you think about Snowball, you get to say to them, ‘Do you feel the same?’ Cause at the end of the day we all feel the same,” said Kimberly.
For many of the kids, being together is their first chance at closure.
This week, they are grateful to have people just like them to laugh with, cry with, and remember the loved one who cared so much to lay down their life in service.
“I lost my dad, but I gained so many brothers and sisters and cousins, just a family,” Kimberly said.
A bond that will never be torn apart.
For more on the Snowball Express, or how you can get involved, go here.