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Packers Road Trip: Hudson welcomes alumni on Day 2

After rolling through Wausau, Packers visited the west side of Wisconsin

Packers Road Trip Day 2
Packers Road Trip Day 2

The convening power of sports was on full display at Hudson High School Thursday night as the Packers Road Trip participated in the school's annual Pigskin Picnic athletic fundraiser.

Hudson Raider Stadium, the venue for the annual event, was alive with more than 1,400 people in attendance to support the school's athletic program. The "Power of Pack" definitely added energy to the event."

"Having the team here made this event even more enjoyable for everyone," said Aaron Mullen, activities director and associate principal at Hudson High School. "People enjoyed seeing them and taking pictures. Listening to them answer questions and take part in the activities was great."

During a question-and-answer period, Mark Murphy wanted to see if Hudson's proximity to the Minnesota border caused any Vikings fans to exist in the area. Sure enough, a decent cheer answered Murphy's query.

On the subject of player superstitions, Scott Wells recalled former guard Josh Sitton blasting Miley Cyrus music in the athletic training room on gamedays and singing along to it.

"He did that and cracked jokes to keep it light," Wells said. "That was fun."

The crowd also learned that Tony Moll and Aaron Rodgers played a lot of video games together.

"I used to beat him all the time," Moll boasted.

The players appearing on stage and answering questions had a semblance to the Tailgate Tours of past years, but without the autograph session. As the tour has evolved after COVID, it was determined that it was a better use of the group's time to visit more places and mingle with fans in a more casual fashion, rather than spend a larger portion of time at a table signing autographs.

The financial support of local organizations on the route remains in place, as well, with more than $125,000 slated to be presented on this trip. That amount is on top of the impact of having the group appear at various events. Over the 16 years of the trips, approximately $3.5 million in support has benefited organizations.

The day started off with a fundraising breakfast in Wausau to benefit Judicare Legal Aid, which provides free civil legal aid and representation to low-income persons. Mark Murphy presented a check for $25,000 to Judicare's executive director Beth Ann Richlen, who was very appreciative of the support for the work of her organization.

The Packers Road Trip continued in Hudson, Wis. with surprise visits to Troy Burne Golf Club and Hudson High School to show support for its athletic fundraiser.

Wausau East High School was next with a surprise stop for students who were in summer session. The students had the opportunity to ask players about their key to success.

Wells encouraged players to stick with their goals by saying, "You may fall out of love with one of your dreams. Stick with it. Break it down into daily steps. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."

Jason Spitz reminded the students that success is not bought, it's leased.

Tony Moll: "One of the biggest gifts in life is helping other people. It's a blessing to have Packers offer this opportunity to come back and engage with people like you. To be able to do that is super important to me."

The group made a late morning stop in Owen at the Clark County Rehabilitation and Living Center where they visited with 100 residents and clients of the facility.

Karen Simington, the center's director of nursing, appreciated how much her group enjoyed the opportunity to visit with the former players.

"This is such a great opportunity for them," she said with a smile.

A stop for lunch followed at Café Dutchess, a restaurant located on the farm of Marieke Penterman in Thorp. The farm produces national champion Marieke Gouda cheese. Marieke gave the group a tour of the facilities, including the dairy farm and the cheese production. 

"It was cool," said James Starks. "I've never seen that." 

It's never too late to see the heritage of the Dairy State up close. 

In the early evening, the Road Trip surprised golfers at the Troy Burne Golf Club outside Hudson who were playing in an outing to support Bridge for Community Life, an organization that serves over 300 individuals by providing opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities as they transition into adulthood by offering a balance of life skills development, continued learning, recreation, and leisure as it leads to healthy minds and bodies. 

Murphy presented donations from the Packers and Associated Bank amounting $29,000. 

Additionally, Moll managed to raise an extra $40 by winning an impromptu putting contest with a few of the golfers. 

Is Moll the best golfer of the group? 

"I'll say this," Moll began. "Who in this group was recruited to collage as an athlete?" 

Not quite a mic drop, but the players went along with it.

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