Packers’ road trip makes central Wisconsin stops
By Mike Warren
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – When the second-annual Packers Road Trip rolled through the state July 14-17, the Green Bay Packers made several central Wisconsin stops, including some in Thorp, Owen, Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point, and Rosholt.
“It’s a little different,” Packers President & CEO Mark Murphy told us, 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.”
One of those former players on this year’s tour was Tramon Williams, a cornerback for the Packers from 2007-14, and again from 2018-19.
“I love it,” Williams said of the tour.. “It’s one-of-a-kind. You don’t get many teams going around their state like the Green Bay Packers are doing,” Williams added. “They called me and asked me do I want to be a part of this, and I basically jumped at the opportunity. The team is built off of family. It’s the only team in the NFL that’s community-owned, and that’s a unique thing. So we don’t want to just be a community-owned team. We want to be seen in the community.”
Williams was making his first appearance on the annual Packers tour.
“I tried to get to the one last year. It didn’t quite work out with my schedule,” he said.
No. 38 retired as a Packer on March 16 of last year, his 38th birthday.
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.
On the last day of their tour, the group made a stop at the Wisconsin Lions Camp in Rosholt, where they partnered on a $29,000 donation.