Packers’ road trip makes five central Wisconsin stops
BY MIKE WARREN
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – When the second-annual Packers Road Trip rolled into Wisconsin Rapids the afternoon of July 16, the group was making its fourth stop in central Wisconsin in as many days.
“It’s a little different,” Packers President & CEO Mark Murphy told City Times, during a stop at the Waterford Senior Living Community in Wisconsin Rapids. “We used to call it Tailgate Tour. Now it’s a road trip,” Murphy added. “We still make a lot of stops. What you saw here at the nursing home is something we do probably once a day.”
Murphy and former Packer players Tramon Williams, James Starks, Scott Wells, Mike Neil, Jason Spitz and Tony Moll spent nearly an hour at the Waterford, playing Bingo with many residents in the facility’s Community Room, while visiting others who were not able to leave their private rooms.
“This is so exciting for us and for our residents,” said Ellen Bishop, Sales & Marketing Director for the Waterford. “Our residents had a lot of different things they did throughout the week. We really took the whole week as a time to prepare them for being on the same page with the Packer party, so what we told them is we were having a Packer party. We left it a complete surprise as to if the Packers were coming or not. We never said, so everybody was surprised when the Packers’ bus pulled up here outside the facility. And then of course they were extremely surprised when they came in. We had a lot of fun with this party. It was more exciting for all of us just to see how happy the residents were.”
Murphy and the former players handed out bigger prizes to the Bingo winners, and all 48 residents got key chains and other keepsakes.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Murphy said. “It’s a little later than normal,” he added. “It’s really close to training camp, so we had six former players. Normally we have three current and three former players.”
That evening, the Packers crashed a wedding reception in Stevens Point, their second one on the five-day road trip. The first one occurred during a July 15 trip to La Crosse, where the former Packer players also took a scenic ride down the Mississippi River aboard the La Crosse Queen and threw out first pitches at a La Crosse Loggers baseball game. Earlier in the day, the Packer reps visited student athletes participating in summer workouts at Prescott and Hudson High Schools. The day also included a stop for lunch at a winery in Pepin.
The 2022 Packers Road Trip began July 13 with stops at Green Bay East High School, Rawhide Youth Services in New London and Wisconsin Veterans Home in King.
The second leg of the tour July 14 began with a $25,000 donation to Judicare Legal Aid in Wausau. The financial gift was part of more than $125,000 in donations presented by the Packers during the trip. The Packers Road Trip followed up the check presentation with a surprise visit for summer school students at Wausau East.
From there the tour headed west on Highway 29 to the Clark County Rehabilitation & Living Center in Owen, where the group spent time with approximately 100 residents. “This is such a great opportunity for them,” Director of Nursing Karen Simington told packers.com. Another Clark County stop for the group included lunch at Café Dutchess on the Penterman farm in Thorp.