Skip to main content

Tailgate Tour's second day includes remembrances

Packers pay respects to fallen police officers

2023 Tailgate Tour
2023 Tailgate Tour

The Barron County communities of Chetek and Cameron were a focus for the Tailgate Tour Wednesday morning as the Packers made stops at the respective police departments to pay their respects to two fallen police officers.

Chetek police officer Emily Breidenbach and Cameron police officer Hunter Scheel were killed Saturday, April 8, in the line of duty. The two officers had conducted a traffic stop based on a warrant and gunfire was exchanged with the driver. Both officers died at the scene and the driver later died at a hospital.

The Tour members laid flowers on the memorials for the officers and spoke with members of the police departments, including Chetek police chief Ron Ambrozaitis, who thanked the Packers for stopping and shared some memories of Emily.

All members of the Tour were impacted by the visit and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix felt a close connection considering his experience with the law enforcement community. During his playing days in Green Bay, he spent 160 hours working in the judicial system while he finished his degree in criminal justice. Through the course of his work, he spent a lot of time with officers and gained a deep respect for the work they do.

"Being able to go by and see the memorial sites of Officer Hunter and Officer Emily meant a lot to me," said Clinton-Dix. "Even meeting with the police chief, he told me how special it was to Emily and that kind of touched my heart being that I'm so involved in law enforcement. It was a blessing just to pay our respects as a community and as a team."

The Tour also made $5,000 donations to each of the police departments in memory of the officers.

The Tailgate Tour honored Chetek Police Officer Emily Breidenbach and Cameron Police Officer Hunter Scheel who were both killed in the line of duty earlier this month.

Another heartfelt stop was at the Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery near Spooner, a final resting place for eligible veterans, spouses and dependents. The facility and grounds are a beautiful and lasting memorial to veterans' achievements, service and sacrifices. More than 5,100 veterans and family members are buried there.

The Tailgate Tour placed a wreath and paid their respects in a short ceremony. Local color guard members and other community members were present.

Aaron Jones, whose parents served in the Army, spoke of his parents and life in the military.

"I lived on military bases until I went to college," he said. "The structure helped me in so many ways."

Earlier in the day, the Tour visited with residents at Holiday Oakwood Hills, an independent senior living home, and presented them with a tiled mural from the Ladies of Lambeau, this one featuring the phrase "No flowers without showers."

At Rice Lake High School, the themes for approximately 500 freshmen and sophomores were positive decision-making, perseverance and resilience.

Davon House shared his approach, saying, "Don't turn away from adversity. Run at it at full speed and run through it at that full speed. That's the only way you're going to grow."

House also implored the students to be aware of mental health challenges that their fellow students and others may be facing.

"There's a lot going on out there and a lot of people are affected," he said. "Let's try and keep smiles on faces. If you see someone alone or is being picked on or is having a bad day, smile, tell them hello, ask them how they're doing. Everyone may not be having a great day. Those things can go a long way in this world."

The Packers Tailgate Tour spent Wednesday afternoon visiting with students at Rice Lake High School and paying respect to fallen soldiers at the Northwestern Veterans Memorial. The bus concluded with a surprise stop at the Jack Link's facility.

The day's final stop was Jack Link's in Minong. The company, a sponsor of the Packers, is a meat snacks company that is family-owned and operated. The Tour learned of the company's beginnings, with it being born in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, built on hard work and pioneer spirit.

The group took a tour of the facility, seeing the production from start to finish, and had a chance to mingle with staff along the way.

Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to see literally how the sausage, or in this case, jerky, was made.

Eddie Lacy was impressed with the facility.

"I feel like I just went through the Willy Wonka factory," he said.

Kevin Pagorek, the plant manager who gave the tour, laughed and said, "Yeah, Wisconsin's version!"

"That was memorable," said Mark Murphy. "I had no idea how much goes into making Jack Link's."

The Tour often makes stops at locations of Packers sponsors, such as an Associated Bank branch Wednesday, as well as the Kwik Trip bakery last year in La Crosse. These are moments that allow the organization to enhance the relationships with the great Wisconsin companies that support the team.

"It's something we enjoy doing," Murphy said. "We know that it means a lot to the sponsors and it's a way for us to thank them for their support of the Packers."

Related Content