The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to U.S. Army veteran Gauge Hunter during Sunday's game against Seattle 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.
Hunter, who was born in California but spent much of his childhood in Michigan, joined the U.S. Army in 2012 to serve his country. After basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, he received orders to the 23rd Engineer Company (Sappers) in Fort Richardson in Alaska. After a year of active duty, he was deployed to the East region of Afghanistan, where his unit did route clearance missions.
Five months into deployment, his truck was hit with an IED while on mission and he was injured. Following the deployment, he was medically retired.
After his retirement from the service, Hunter, a lifelong Packers fan, decided to make Wisconsin his home. He and his wife, Alli, moved to Oshkosh, where they have lived for five years. They attended Sunday's game with Hunter's sister, Lindsey, and his brother-in-law, Fred.
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 142 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.