The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute this week to U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Bridgett Manning during Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings for 'Operation Fan Mail.'
Operation Fan Mail, the program that recognizes military families and veterans at each Packers home game, is marking its 15th season in 2021.
Manning, originally from Muskego, Wis., joined the U.S. Air Force in 1995. During the next two decades, she spent time serving around the world in Afghanistan, Africa, Alaska, Georgia and Germany. She worked not only as a soldier, but as a humanitarian, asking for donations of shoes, toys and toiletries to donate to local orphanages.
Through her hard work, Manning earned the rank of Chief Master Sergeant and oversaw hundreds of enlisted men and women. She officially retired this weekend after serving for 26 years.
Aside from her military career, Manning advocates for veterans as an intern at VETS2PM, where she assists veterans in finding employment. She also serves on the board of directors for the Jacksonville Veterans Chamber of Commerce as the vice president of external affairs and career development.
In her nomination essay, Manning's best friend, Michelle Pinkert, said, "She is a shining example of a woman overcoming substantial odds and emerging triumphant."
Manning's husband, Casey, is also a veteran who served in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years. A lifelong Packers fan, Manning attended Sunday's game with Casey, Pinkert and Pinkert's husband, Matt.
Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to honor families with a member who is on active duty, or a member who is a veteran. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling. The Packers and WPS Health Solutions will host a family or group at each 2021 home game and recognize them on the video board during pregame activities. A total of 146 individuals, families or groups have been recognized through the program thus far.
To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Solutions 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 next season. Essays can be sent to Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628 or online at packers.com/lambeau-field/operation-fan-mail.
In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families will receive four tickets to the game and a $150 Packers Pro Shop gift card courtesy of WPS Health Solutions.