I will never forget watching those two little boys carry their daddy inside.  

Both younger than 10, they each clutched a poster with a picture of their daddy in uniform on it as they marched through the tunnel of cheering volunteers to enter the hotel. Although their daddy could no longer walk hand in hand alongside them, the boys had brought him to Dallas with them.

Their daddy is their hero, and they weren’t going anywhere without him. But, their daddy is my hero too. Their daddy paid the ultimate sacrifice for my freedom, and it was the privilege of the Windrose DFW Philanthropy team to honor him and his kids last Sunday.

Later that day, I watched a member of our team named David greet a young girl and her family. With a big grin and willing hands, he eagerly offered to help locate their suitcases. The girl’s golden lanyard indicated that she had lost a loved one in the past six months. She had flown to Dallas, TX to participate in the Snowball Express Christmas program, helping the kids of our fallen military heroes to make new Christmas memories.

As part of the Windrose DFW Philanthropy team, fourteen-year-old David Aguilar was there to make a difference. Carefully balancing the luggage, David confidently led the way to the elevators. He escorted this young girl to her room before returning to the lobby to help the next family. He can hardly wait for the next chance to serve with Windrose, and he is already planning to bring his friends and family back next year. In case you were wondering, the beaming reindeer on the left in the photo above is David. Other eager volunteers joined him, including Leticia, Odalys, Juan Pablo, Dulce, Ashley, Andrea, Erika, Spencer, Francisco and Rubi.

Overall, 13 teens and young adults invested their Sunday afternoon welcoming, cheering, greeting and serving the families of our fallen military heroes. We cheered on more than 15 busloads of kids and parents who had flown in from all over the country to make new friends and Christmas memories.

Freedom isn’t free. This is so important for us to remember as we prepare to travel home for Christmas this year. The hundreds of children that we cheered for and escorted on Sunday will spend Christmas without their mom or dad, because their parent paid the ultimate price to secure your freedom and mine. Let the weight of that sink in for a moment. They didn’t come home so that you could. We owe them a debt of gratitude that we can never repay.

Do you know a military family? Windrose challenges YOU to reach out to them this Christmas season to thank them for their sacrifice. The children and spouses that fallen heroes leave behind have paid perhaps the very highest price for our freedom, and we are eternally grateful. Whether it’s a note, a call, or a plate of homemade cookies, wish a service member or a military family near you a Merry Christmas! You have the power to brighten their day and spread some Christmas cheer.