The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Insurance will pay special tribute to Army Specialist Chris Haley during Sunday's Packers-Giants Divisional playoff game for 'Operation Fan Mail.'
Haley, a Los Angeles, Calif., native, serves the U.S. Army in the 1-5 Infantry Battalion, out of Fort Wainwright, Alaska, as a combat medic. His division deployed to Iraq in 2008 and to Afghanistan in 2011.
During his second deployment, Haley was severely injured by stepping on an IED while assisting a fellow soldier who had been wounded. He lost his right leg, suffered injuries to his left leg and arm, and various other injuries. For the past several months he has been recovering at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.
For his bravery, Haley was decorated with the Purple Heart and many other awards including the Army Service Ribbon, Iraq Campaign Ribbon, NATO Service Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and a Combat Medic Badge.
The trip from San Antonio, Texas, to Green Bay, Wis., would not have been possible for the family had they not received assistance from the Veterans Airlift Command (VAC) and Cessna.
The VAC is a charitable volunteer organization that provides free air transportation to wounded warriors, veterans and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes. After learning about VAC, Cessna built and donated the use of a plane to be used solely for VAC missions and flown by Cessna pilots.
More than a dozen of Haley's family members are in the military including both of his parents, who are in the Army National Guard. His father, Sergeant First Class Donald Haley, is currently in Afghanistan serving as a civilian contractor, and was overseas with Haley when he was injured. His mother, Master Sergeant Susan Haley, works in intelligence with the 101st Information Operations Battalion in Austin, Texas.
On Sunday, Haley will be accompanied by his mother, Susan, his sister, Sarah, and his brother, Michael, while being recognized on Lambeau Field.
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 2011 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. More than 38 families have been recognized during the past four-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.