Jim Becker of Racine, Wis., was named the 12th member of the Green Bay Packers FAN Hall of Fame at Packers Fan Fest Friday at the Lambeau Field Atrium.
Becker, a long-time season-ticket holder who has attended games every year from 1952 through 2008, saw his first game in 1941 when he was 11-years-old. He was selected by fans from 10 finalists during a voting period that ran from Dec. 27, 2009, through Jan. 31, 2010. More than 40,000 votes were cast from throughout the United States and countries around the world.
A long-time and devoted fan, Becker’s allegiance to the team was a factor in discovering a health condition that could have been life-threatening. From his submitted nomination, fans learned his story.
It reads, “Jim, now 79, along with his wife, Patricia, raised 11 children (all Packers fans). Needless to say, money was tight, but Jim had season tickets to pay for, but he wouldn't take money away from the family. So he found out he could sell his blood for $15 a pint. The Packers saved his life.
“During a routine physical, he had to fill out a questionnaire about family medical history. The doctor noticed Jim’s father died at 43 years old of hemochromatosis. Jim had to be tested. He had it. It is a condition that retains excessive amounts of iron in your blood. The only treatment is to remove the iron by giving blood. By then he had sold 145 pints of blood to pay for his season tickets. If he hadn't, he very well may have died like his father. His love of the Packers saved his life. To this day he still donates 3-4 times a month.”
This year’s other finalists included Patrick Chambers, Suamico, Wis.; Marguerite Cygan, Green Bay; Daniel D. Harmon III, Oshkosh, Wis.; Jeni Malament, Charlotte, N.C.; Bruce Roehsner, Menomonee Falls, Wis.; Dennis Sheehy, Clancy, Mont.; Roger Van De Hey, Gridley, Calif.; Jerry Vanderkam, Green Bay; and Robert Wankowski, Las Vegas, Nev.
Becker will receive four club seats to a 2010 Packers home game; a $500 Packers Pro Shop gift certificate; a road trip for two to a 2010 Packers away game, including game ticket, air fare and hotel accommodation; and a one-year subscription to Packer Plus and Packer Insider.
The Green Bay Packers established the Packers FAN Hall of Fame in 1998 for the purpose of annually honoring a devout and longtime Packers fan.
The 11 prior honorees include Mel Knoke, Appleton, Wis.; Louis Gardipee, Black River Falls, Wis.; Ed Jablonski, Wausau, Wis.; Paul Mazzoleni, Green Bay; Wanda Boggs, Brookfield, Wis.; Sister Isaac Jogues Rousseau, Milwaukee; Dorothy Hanke, Milwaukee; Kathy Lazzaro, Milwaukee; Rich Barbera, River Vale, N.J.; Richard ‘Ike’ Eisenhauer, Wauwatosa, Wis.; and Allan Hale of Green Bay.
FAN Hall of Fame sponsors are Best Buy, Stein Gardens and Gifts, Verizon Wireless and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.