By Janelle Fisher/Kris Leonhardt
Press Times staff
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers and Fleet Farm launched this year’s Salute to Service initiative during a press conference held Tuesday, Oct. 17, in the Lambeau Field Atrium Legends Club.
Held in conjunction with Veterans Day, the Packers and Fleet Farm honor those who serve through fundraising opportunities, military discounts, player and alumni visits and game-day activities.
Packers running back Aaron Jones — who is the Packers’ nominee for this year’s NFL Salute to Service award — shared how growing up in a military family shaped his life.
“Both of my parents served. My dad had served 29 years and retired as a command sergeant major. My mom served 27 years and retired as a sergeant major; so, I know first-hand what it takes to serve our country, particularly when you are raising a family,” Jones stated.
“I’m very proud of them and it set up a structure for my life. Without the military, I don’t know where I would be or where my parents would be.”
Jones and his brother, Alvin Jr., have also set up a foundation —A&A All the Way — that is geared toward “giving back to the military and military children.”
“We were once in their shoes, and we wanted to be a resource for them,” Jones explained.
“I don’t know where I would be without the structure (the Military) has given me for my life.
“The sacrifice and dedication doesn’t end when your military service does though, the veterans carry the impact of their service with them through the rest of their lives. I want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to take care of those military members not only when they’re serving but throughout their lives.”
Packers Director of Public Affairs Aaron Popkey said this was the first year that the Packers have worked with Fleet Farm “to enhance this initiative to honor and salute our veterans and members of our military. This builds upon the NFL’s Salute to Service program, which takes place each November.”
“It’s always been important to the Packers to thank our service members in a variety of ways throughout the year,” Popkey added.
“We work various grants and issue donations to military organizations. We visit patients at veterans hospitals. We participate in honor flights to bring our veterans to see the monuments in Washington. We also honor military members each home game through Operation Fan Mail.
“This November we have a variety of additional activities planned to honor those who serve.”
Popkey announced this year’s nonprofit partner for the Salute to Service campaign — HOOAH.
“The Green Bay-based organization has a mission of eliminating suicide by proactively addressing the wellness of service members and veterans and their support systems. We are honored to help contribute to their efforts…,” he said
The Packers will also celebrate their first Military Appreciation Week, Oct. 30 – Nov. 5.
For more information, visit www.packers.com/community/salute-to-service.