The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to U.S. Army veteran Mike Klas and his family during Thursday's Packers-Eagles game for 'Operation Fan Mail.'
Klas, a Fredonia, Wisconsin, native, served from 1976-79 and 1983-2001 in the U.S. Army. He spent time as a military helicopter co-pilot in the Gulf War, and also served as an aerial observer, fire support specialist and senior instructor at the Non-Commissioned Officer Academy.
He achieved the rank of first sergeant, and was awarded numerous awards and medals, including the National Defense Service Medal, Southeast Asia Service Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal and Air Assault Badge. He was deployed to Germany, Korea and Saudi Arabia, and spent time stationed in Kentucky and Washington.
Following his retirement from the military, Klas continued his work in service of the military, working for the Veterans Administration where he assisted homeless veterans in overcoming substance abuse and PTSD, as well as helping them find medical care, housing and employment.
Klas, a lifelong Packers fan who now lives in Lakewood, Washington, is currently undergoing rigorous treatment for stage 4 brain cancer, but dreamed of returning to Lambeau Field to see the Packers play. He attended Thursday's game with his wife, Joyce, his son, Kevin, and his daughter-in-law, Christina.
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 at each 2019 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 122 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.