The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Insurance paid special tribute to the Hildebrand family, of Random Lake, Wis., during Sunday's Packers-Browns game for 'Operation Fan Mail.'
Master Sergeant Reed Hildebrand, his daughter Staff Sergeant Jenna Hildebrand and his son Senior Airman Jared Hildebrand are all currently serving in the 128th Air Refueling Wing (ARW) of the Wisconsin Air National Guard in Milwaukee. Reed's wife, Julie Vale, is an Air Force veteran with eight years of service.
Master Sergeant (Reed) Hildebrand started his military career in 1986 when he joined the Air Force as a vehicle operator at Grand Forks Air Force Base (AFB) in North Dakota. He was later assigned to the 321st Missile Wing as a launch control facility manager at the same base. In 1996, he left active duty and became a member of the Air National Guard and the 128th ARW. He has been deployed five times throughout his career.
Air Force Veteran Julie Vale enlisted into the Air Force in 1985. She was stationed at Grand Forks AFB in North Dakota where she met and later married Reed. She deployed to Incirlik AB in Turkey in support of Operation Desert Storm, and later spent time away from the Air Force when her children were born.
Staff Sergeant (Jenna) Hildebrand started her military career in 2006 in the Aircrew Flight Equipment section of the 128th ARW. She deployed with that section to Incirlik AB in Turkey and to Al Udeid AB in Qatar in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. After obtaining a bachelor's degree in journalism and media studies she transferred to public affairs where she is now a photojournalist.
Senior Airman (Jared) Hildebrand enlisted in 2010 to the 128th ARW and has deployed to Moron AB in Spain in support of Operation Unified Protector and to Al Udeid AB in Qatar in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He currently participates in the base honor guard team that performs funeral honors and at ceremonial occasions.
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 2013 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 59 families have been recognized with through the program.
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 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 spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.
In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from WPS.