Local military families get 'Snowball Express' trip

SEATTLE -- Local military families left SeaTac Aiport at 6:30 a.m. Friday to attend the seventh annual Snowball Express.

Before the plane took off, there was some fun on the runway -- children got to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and their plane got a water-cannon salute on the taxiway.

Snowball Express is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring hope, joy and new memories to children who have lost a parent on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001.

American Airlines is providing the majority of the air travel and the flight crews are donating their time. Nine planes from around the country are making their way to Dallas-Ft. Worth.

In all, 1,700 children and spouses of fallen U.S. military members will enjoy the all-expenses-paid trip. The families will participate in a series of activities including a tree-lighting celebration, visits to theme parks and museums and attend a rodeo.