The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to Spc. Austen Jahnke and his family during Thursday’s Packers-Titans game for ‘Operation Fan Mail.’
Jahnke, originally from Eau Claire, Wis., joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard in 2015, and has been serving as a gunner with Company A, 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry in Menomonie, Wis.
Jahnke became the Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldier of the Year after winning Best Warrior Competitions at both the state and regional levels earlier this year. He recently placed fourth nationally after competing in the National Guard Best Warrior Competition at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., in July.
During his time in the Wisconsin Army National Guard, he also spent time in Florida helping with relief operations following Hurricane Irma last year. He is currently a student at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Jahnke attended the game Thursday with his aunt, Robyn Criego, his uncle, Ken Knox, and his grandmother, Sharon Risberg.
Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to honor families with a member who is on active duty, or a member who is a veteran. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling. The Packers and WPS Health Solutions will host a family at each 2018 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 108 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.
To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Solutions are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted next season. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628 or submitted online at packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail.
In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game.