The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Insurance will pay special tribute to U.S. Army Spc. Matthew Gutowski during Sunday's Packers-Giants game for 'Operation Fan Mail.' At Matthew's request, his three older brothers and fellow veterans, Chris, Jon, and Jordan, will join him for recognition.
Longtime Packers fans from Wausau, Wis., the Gutowskis have not been able to spend the holiday season together in four long years as all four siblings are veterans of the current war in Iraq.
Matthew, the chosen honoree for Sunday's game, has served in the Army for four years as a specialist and has spent 15 months overseas in Iraq. Working as an engineer, Gutowski has helped in the efforts to rebuild Iraq.
Jon, the eldest sibling, was the first of the four to fight in the war. While deployed he was a generator mechanic providing electricity for forward operating bases. He returned from Iraq with an injured foot and was medically discharged. Jon's wife, Sgt. Jessica Gutowski, also has been deployed to Iraq as a paralegal with JAG.
Staff Sgt. Chris Gutowski has spent the most time overseas as a crew chief on Apache helicopters. He will be deploying on his fourth tour at the beginning of the New Year. Sgt. Jordan Gutowski has been on two deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, serving as an engineer in the military and has helped rebuilding efforts in both countries.
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 Insurance will host a family at each 2010 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. More than 30 families have been recognized during the past three-plus seasons.
To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Insurance 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. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gamedaypromotions/operationfan_mail.
Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.
In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families will receive four tickets to the game and a care package from WPS.