Special trip aims to help family heal - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Special trip aims to help family heal


Each year, thousands of children and parents travel on a special trip called the "Snowball Express". The event helps those who've lost a military parent connect with others going through the same thing.

On Friday, a central Wisconsin family began that journey.

Alexis Dampier and her two sisters lost their father six years ago. He was killed by an IED in Iraq in May of 2006.

Private First Class Grant Dampier lived in Merrill. His death touched many in the community.

A yearly tradition, called the "Snowball Express" is helping his children and his widow heal. The trip to Texas aims to help children who have lost a parent on active duty since 9/11.

The Dampier family has taken the trip several times.

"It's amazing, just amazing," Heidi Dampier said.

The "Snowball Express" got started this morning, as the Dampier's left from Central Wisconsin Airport.

Hundreds of people board airplanes at CWA everyday. But for the Dampier family, it isn't an ordinary trip. They say it's a chance to make connections with the few people who know exactly what they're going through.

The family will be joined by close to 1,700 children from across the country, all headed to Fort Worth, Texas.

"Seeing them having fun, I think that's the best part," Heidi Dampier said.

American Eagle Airlines provides the trip for free.

"It's awesome, but it's very emotional," Heidi Dampier said.

This weekend will feature a parade, a trip to Six Flags and a holiday celebration.

"They see all these other kids and know that they're not alone," Dampier said.



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