The Green Bay Packers, the first professional football team to have its own hall of fame, enhanced that distinction in 1998 by establishing a Packers FAN Hall of Fame.
It was founded, in conjunction with the Packers Hall of Fame, for the purpose of annually honoring a devout and longtime Packers fan.
As has been the case each of the past five years, fans have been asked to nominate themselves for recognition by a selection committee. The late Mel Knoke of Appleton was chosen as the inaugural enshrinee in the FAN Hall of Fame. The 91-year-old Knoke, who died between the time of his election and enshrinement, was honored posthumously at the 1999 Packers Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, held March 6.
Louis Gardipee of Black River Falls, Wis., Ed Jablonski of Wausau, Wis., Paul Mazzoleni of Green Bay and Wanda Boggs of Brookfield, Wis., were the second, third, fourth and fifth honorees, respectively.
The time now has come to begin the process of selecting the sixth annual honoree. The nomination phase, which begins today, Oct. 1, will continue through Thursday, October 30, 2003. Fans again are being asked to nominate themselves for the honor - or a relative or friend - in an essay of 500 words or less, telling why they should be recognized. Each nomination should be accompanied by a photo.
The 10 finalists who best represent the Packers and the spirit of the Packers Hall of Fame will be chosen in November by the Packers FAN Hall of Fame selection committee, comprised of members of the Packers front office and the Packers Hall of Fame Board of Directors, and announced November 20, 2003.
Packers fans, in turn, will be asked to vote on the 10 finalists whose stories will be profiled.
Fans can mail their nominations to: Green Bay Packers FAN Hall of Fame, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628, or drop them off at the Lambeau Field Atrium (1265 Lombardi Avenue) or at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 333 W. State Street, Milwaukee, WI, 53201.
The fan receiving the most votes will become the sixth honorary fan to be installed in the Packers FAN Hall of Fame.
The honoree's selection will be announced December 19, 2003. He or she will receive four club seats to a Packers home game, at which he or she will be recognized on the Lambeau Field Tundra Vision video boards; a $500 Packers Pro Shop gift certificate and a road trip for two to a 2004 Packers away game, including game ticket, air fare and hotel accommodation.
The honoree also will be introduced during the Packers Hall of Fame Induction Banquet next July and have his or her name permanently displayed in a place of honor in the Packers Hall of Fame.
FAN Hall of Fame sponsors are ShopKo, Stein Gardens and Gifts, Best Buy and Bielinski Homes.