The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to U.S. Navy veteran James Eastman during Thursday's game against the Titans for 'Operation Fan Mail'. Operation Fan Mail, the program that recognizes military families and veterans at each Packers home game, is marking its 16th season this year.
Eastman, originally from Menasha, Wis., joined the U.S. Navy after high school, hoping to find a platform for a career in machining. He served in the Navy from 1985 to 1988 as a machinist mate before becoming a top watch of the engine room and Welfare and Recreation Office. During his military career, he served on the USS Schofield (FFG-3) out of San Diego and in 1987, he was deployed to the Persian Gulf for a six-month tour. His service earned him an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Navy Expeditionary Medal, and a Sea Service Ribbon.
After the Navy, Eastman landed a position at Rich Products Plant, but when the plant closed in 2001, he forged a new path to follow his passion of serving others, which led to teaching. He got his Bachelor's degree in two years and became a technology education teacher. He now works a full day teaching in Menasha and also serves as a driver's education teacher.
Eastman is also active in his local Veterans of Foreign Wars post. An avid Packers fan, he has been on the waiting list for season tickets since the 1990s and excitedly updates his family on his progress on the list each year. He prioritizes watching the Packers each week and cherishes his memories of watching the team with close friends and family.
He attended Thursday's game with his wife, Lisa, daughter, Ali Eastman, and her husband, Chris Belville, and their son, Easton James Belville.
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 2022 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 154 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.