Packers players, alumni make surprise visit in Onalaska

Current and former Green Bay Packers players paid a surprise visit to SpringBrook Assisted Living in Onalaska Wednesday afternoon.

The visit was part of the 10th anniversary of the “Green Bay Packers Tailgate Tour.”

“I knew there was a big surprise. I didn’t know what,” said Packer fan Pat Milish. “And they walked in. Oh, it was wonderful.”

Milish said it was fun to see Packers greats Jerry Kramer and Dave Robinson. Current Packers tight end Andrew Quarless, defensive back Micah Hyde, and cornerback Casey Hayward were also on the Tailgate Tour, along with Packers alumni Gilbert Brown, Bill Schroeder, and Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy.

“I was so happy,” said 76-year-old Carol Bakkestuen. “I’ve been a Packer fan ever since I can remember. Our whole family is.”

“We’re going to local schools, nursing homes to give back to the community,” Hyde said. “We have a lot of support in the state. Everyone loves the Packers, so it’s nice to be able to give back to them and show how much we care.”

During the afternoon stop, the Packers answered several questions from SpringBrook residents.

“Where’s Aaron Rodgers?” a fan asked from in the back of the room.

“He’s asleep on the bus,” Hyde joked.

The Packers also held an “auction” and signed items like a flag and mini footballs for their fans.

“It was fun to be able to see their personalities,” Milish said.

“It’s good to go around the whole state, see the fans from all around the smaller counties and cities you don’t normally get to see,” Hayward said.

The stop is just one part of the Tailgate Tour. The players and alumni are traveling across the state in a customized motor coach to visit fans and thank them in person for their support. The players and alumni stopped to visit fans in Menominee on Tuesday.

The tour will stop in Prairie du Chien Wednesday night at the Barn Restaurant, 32800 County Road K. The players and alumni will at 6 p.m. and the event will run until 8:30 p.m. The money raised will benefit St. Feriole Island Park, Inc. Tickets are on sale at DH BP North, 500 North Marquette Rd., Prairie du Chien, Wis., and Dyer Communications/Radio Shack, 120 N. Marquette Rd., Prairie du Chien, Wis.

The Tailgate Tour will also stop in Baraboo on Thursday, Elkhorn on Friday, and Sheboygan on Saturday.