The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Insurance paid special tribute to U.S. Army Sergeant Ryan Waldo during Friday's Packers-Seattle Seahawks preseason game for 'Operation Fan Mail.'
Waldo, a native of Milwaukee, Wis. and lifelong Packers fan, graduated from Washington High School (Milwaukee) and worked for Quad/Graphics for five years after high school before joining the Army in 2004. Waldo started in the Army as a private and later went through training to become a combat medic. He is now a sergeant stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colo. when not deployed.
Throughout his nine-year career, Waldo has been deployed twice to Tikrit, Iraq, and is currently deployed to South Korea (Camp Casey), where he is serving as a combat medic with the Second ID, 302 Division Combat Support Hospital.
Waldo attended the game with his wife, Stephanie, his mother, Eileen and his father, Greg. Waldo and his wife have one son, Dylan, and two daughters, Cheyann and Bailee.
He enjoyed the game while on leave and also celebrated his 33rd birthday at Lambeau Field. Waldo was nominated by his mother, who wanted to surprise him, and had no idea he would be honored from the field before the game.
Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Insurance will host a family at each 2013 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 56 families have been recognized with through the program.
To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Insurance 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. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at packers.com/gameday/gamedaypromotions/operationfan_mail.
Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.
In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from WPS.