The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Insurance paid special tribute to Private First Class Shawn Simon during Sunday’s Christmas night Packers-Bears game for ‘Operation Fan Mail.’

Simon, a De Pere native, serves the U.S. Army in the 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, N.C. with his unit, 3 Charlie. His infantry division specializes in parachute landing operations.

Ever since Simon was young, he wanted to join the military. He worked with recruiters throughout high school and graduated Boot Camp and Airborne at Fort Benning, Ga. Simon will be deploying to Afghanistan in early February for his first tour as a U.S. solder.  

“Shawn is kind, funny and very outgoing,” said his mother Julie Zimmerman.  “He is also determined, driven and proud to serve for our country."

Simon was accompanied by his mother, his uncle, Mike Beining, and his friend, Jimmy Sedovic, while being recognized on Lambeau Field.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Insurance will host a family at each 2011 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. More than 38 families have been recognized during the past four-plus seasons.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Insurance are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail

Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families will receive four tickets to the game and a care package from WPS.