The Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame Inc. received a "legendary" donation from a life-long Packers fan Tuesday, adding to its collection of a bygone era. Joel Schultz, a resident of Green Lake, Wis., returned the square-toed right kicking shoe of Packers great, Jerry Kramer, to share his high school's fairytale memory.
The shoe was given to the school by former Packers offensive lineman Fuzzy Thurston, and was just one of the many pieces of Packers equipment donated to Green Lake High School throughout the 1960s by Thurston.
Schultz, the humble student who was the owner of the coveted 9½ EEE shoe following his prep football career at Green Lake High School, wants to share the memorable story some of the legendary all-time greats gave to this small-town school.
Following his high school years, Schultz and several of his teammates went digging through a box filled with various shoes given to them from the Packers. While Schultz did not continue his football career, he held onto the square-toed kicking shoe for safe keeping. It wasn't until 2007 that Schultz understood how special the item was.
"Jerry Kramer was doing a book signing in the area and I brought the shoe to him to confirm it was his," Schultz said. "As he looked at it, his eyes got kind of misty and he smiled and said, 'Wow, this brings back so many great memories.' It was then I knew just how special that shoe was. I knew it belonged in the Packers Hall of Fame."
Kramer, who stands in 38th place on the Packers' all-time scoring list with 177 career points, used the shoe during the 1962, '63 and '68 seasons. He converted 29 of 54 field goal attempts and 90 of 95 extra point attempts during his career.
"Anytime we get an opportunity to acquire game-used equipment of any kind, especially from a significant Packer player from the past, we jump at it," said Tom Murphy, Packers Hall of Fame Inc. archivist. "It's a unique opportunity for us and like so many of the donations here, if it wasn't for fans like Joel, we wouldn't have the Hall of Fame museum that we have."
Schultz, now 59, hopes the item will be able to convey the fond memories created between some of the legendary Packers and his classmates. Moreover, he hopes this item will bring forward other items his former teammates may still possess and add to the exhibit.
"I never felt that the shoe belonged to me," Schultz said. "The generosity our small-town high school received from these players and the Packers organization was truly touching. I'm not the story; the long-standing Packers-fan relationship is the story."
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The Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame Inc. is a non-profit corporation independent of the Green Bay Packers that guides the Hall as a historic national sports venue and educational resource to the Green Bay community and the state of Wisconsin. The Hall raises funds through its annual induction banquet, Golf Classic and other events to develop new exhibits and expand its archives. Historic memorabilia donated by individuals to the Hall may qualify as tax-deductible gifts.
Originally established in 1967 as a temporary display in the concourse of the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena, the Hall moved into its own facility in 1976 near Lambeau Field. In 2003, it was relocated to a spectacular new, 25,000-square foot facility in the Lambeau Field Atrium. The Hall of Fame is open on non-game days from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hours may vary on game days and holidays. For more information, contact the Hall of Fame at 920/569-7512, or visit the Hall online at www.packershalloffame.org.