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Gary Sinise Foundation Snowball Express

His name has become nearly synonymous with our nation’s veterans. Long before his famous role as Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump, Gary Sinise was inspired by his Vietnam veteran family members and sought out ways to give back to our nation’s defenders and their families. Nowhere is his passion for giving back more evident than through his foundation’s Snowball Express – an effort to remember the families of fallen heroes and ensure them they are never alone. This year, Centerstone’s Military Services, the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinics at Centerstone, our sister Cohen Veterans Network clinic in Tampa, FL- Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Aspire Health Partners- and our Metro Nashville Police Department Behavioral Health Unit were honored to share in Mr. Sinise’s mission and participate in this tremendous event.

“I have had the distinct honor of participating in Gary Sinise Foundation events for the past two years,” Lisa Eggebeen, the Regional Director for the Cohen Clinics at Centerstone said. “Mr. Sinise and Disney World pull out all the stops for our military and first responder families. It is truly a privilege to volunteer as mental health support for these events.”

Held at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL, the 2023 Snowball Express expanded its reach to not only support families of our fallen military but added a second week to hold its first-ever event for families of our fallen first responders.

“These families have sacrificed their lives for our country,” Julie Adams, clinic director at Centerstone said. “Being able to offer our support and encourage the healing process fits so well with our mission to deliver care that changes people’s lives.”

For ten days, mental health team members manned children and teen sensory rooms, roamed Disney Parks and kids and teens lounges, and offered onsite 24/7 support as part of the event’s festivities. Staff were available at all times to answer questions, provide support, and direct families in need to services.

“It’s very humbling to speak with the loved ones of our fallen heroes,” Adams said. “Their stories are so profound, their loss in service to our country so noble. If we were able to provide them any support, tools, or resources to build on the support being provided by the Gary Sinise Foundation, then we’ve not only done our job, we’ve made our participation worth it.”

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