LI mom, girl among Gold Star families taking special trip to Disney

<p>The holiday season is getting a bit brighter for the Long Island family of a hero who made the ultimate sacrifice.</p>

News 12 Staff

Dec 8, 2018, 3:41 PM

Updated 1,987 days ago

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The holiday season is getting a bit brighter for the Long Island family of a hero who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Suffolk residents Deborah and Lily Bonacasa are the wife and daughter of Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Louis Bonacasa, who was killed in Afghanistan in December of 2015.
On Saturday, they were among hundreds of Gold Star family members across the country who are embarking on a special trip ahead of the holidays. Some arrived at JFK Airport to a hero's welcome before being whisked away to sunny Orlando, Florida, where they will spend five days at Walt Disney World.
The trip is made possible by a program called the Snowball Express, along with the Gary Sinise Foundation and American Airlines.
Deborah Bonacasa was grateful for the special trip as they arrived at the airport Saturday.
"I can't say thank you enough. It's amazing what they're doing to make this a happy time for us," she said.
She adds that the trip is fulfilling one of her fallen husband's dreams.
"He always wanted to take our daughter to Disney World," Bonacasa says. "We'll never forget him. He'll always be with us."
In total, more than 1,700 Gold Star family members from all across the country and even around the world are taking a ride on the Snowball Express. The families will receive essential services on the trip, including counseling, help applying for educational scholarships and access to government benefits.


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