The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to Commander Mark Graboski and his family during Thursday's Packers-Bears game for 'Operation Fan Mail.'
Graboski, originally from Stevens Point, attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1989. He was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy and completed deployments to the Western Pacific/Arabian Gulf and to the Joint Interagency Task Force South. In 1995, he began serving as a primary flight instructor at Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Florida.
In 2000, Graboski transitioned to the U.S. Coast Guard through the Direct Commission Aviator Program, serving in Washington, Alabama and Michigan.
Currently, Graboski serves as the executive officer and helicopter pilot at the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station in Traverse City, Mich., where he is responsible for leading a three MH-60 helicopter air station and 168 personnel for search and rescue operations throughout the Great Lakes and Midwest.
Graboski has accumulated more than 5,600 flight hours in various aircraft, and his decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, three CG/ Navy Commendation Medals, two CG Achievement Medals and numerous unit, campaign, and service awards.
Graboski attended Thursday's game with his sons, Sean and Cameron, and his daughter, Audrey. His family also includes his wife, Tammi, and daughter, Alyssa, back home in Traverse City.
Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Solutions will host a family at each 2017 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 102 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. 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. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.