The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute this week to U.S. Army Veteran Douglas Wirth and his family in conjunction with Saturday's preseason game against the New York Jets.
Operation Fan Mail, the program that recognizes military families and veterans at each Packers home game, is marking its 15th season in 2021.
Wirth, a native of Ridgeland, Wisconsin, served in the U.S. Army from 1967-69. He was deployed to Vietnam in 1968 as part of the 9th Infantry Division in the 43rd Scout Dog Platoon. He served as a dog handler and his job was to take a squad of eight to 10 soldiers to ambush sites safely, securing their perimeter with his dog, a German Shephard named Alex. They kept the group from tripping booby traps and ensured the bases and bridges were secure.
Wirth earned the rank of Sergeant and during his time in the military, he was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge in October of 1968 and a Purple Heart in April of 1969.
Wirth, who has been a Packers fan since he was 12 years old, comes from a military family; his father served during WWII and his nephew served recently in the U.S. Air Force. He is looking forward to being honored on the Freedom Honor Flight in October. He was nominated for Operation Fan Mail by his sister, Julie Sanders, and was accompanied at Saturday's game by his fiancée Lana.
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 138 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.