An electric atmosphere existed at the Barron County Fairgrounds – dubbed Lambeau Field Northwest – as a marching band and more than 1,000 fans welcomed the Packers Tailgate Tour to the party.
The evening’s event benefitted Benjamin’s House Emergency Shelter Inc., an organization whose purpose is to work together as a nonprofit agency with community organizations and individuals to provide housing opportunities for the homeless population. Clients are assisted in resolving their homeless situations and the House represents a place of hope and new beginnings.
The party had a bit of a carnival feel as attendees had the opportunity to buy Packers-related crafts and play games, including a dunk tank with victims dressed as Bears and Vikings players.
During fan questions, Lynn Dickey was asked about how it felt to be the original No. 12. Dickey answered the question with his story about how he came to wear No. 12.
“When I first joined the Packers, I was given No. 10,” he began. “But after injuring my shoulder and then breaking my leg, I decided that No. 10 sucked. So I went to coach Zeke Bratkowski, who had worn No. 12, and asked if he’d be OK if I did. He said, ‘Go ahead.’ And that was when I changed.”
During a break in the autograph signing, James Lofton handed out cupcakes to fans who were standing in line.
“They had set those out for us, but we weren’t going to eat them all,” Lofton said. “There were a bunch of kids at the front of the line, so that worked out.”
Earlier in the afternoon, the members of the tour had the opportunity to tour Benjamin’s House and see firsthand what the shelter does for those it helps.
“It hit home for me. My brother was homeless,” Lofton said of the tour. “He had addiction problems and ended up being killed on the street. When people have nowhere to turn, to have something like Benjamin’s House is a fantastic resource. A lot end up there different ways, but to have a way out is important.”
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