The Green Bay Packers and Arise Health Plan paid special tribute to Senior Airman Matthew Hargis and his family during Sunday's Packers-Lions game for 'Operation Fan Mail.'
Hargis, who has served in the U.S. Air Force since 2012, currently is stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia and will deploy to the Middle East in January.
As a Senior Airman, Hargis serves as an electrician, maintaining airfield lighting systems and the power supply of the base. During his time in the military, Hargis has received the Air Force Achievement Medal for setting up an Ebola decontamination compound to house military personnel and Department of Defense civilians returning from West Africa.
Hargis' father, Dwain, is an Army veteran himself, and was injured while serving in Iraq in 2007. The two attended the game together, along with Hargis' mother, Lorie, and sister, Chelsea, who surprised him by coming to the game and arranging for him to be honored on the field. The family, originally from central Indiana, now lives in Elizabethtown, Ky.
Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and Arise Health Plan will host a family at each 2015 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 82 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.
To choose families, the Packers and Arise Health Plan 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/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail.
In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from Arise Health Plan. 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.