The Packers-Vikings game served as a collection pointfor Verizon’s HopeLine project which features the recycling of used cell phones, batteries and accessories.
Through HopeLine, Verizon collects no-longer-used wireless phones, batteries and accessories, in any condition and from any wireless service provider. Once collected, the phones are refurbished or recycled in an environmentally sound way. The refurbished phones are then given 3,000 minutes of wireless service, and are provided to local domestic violence organizations or local government and law enforcement agencies for use with their domestic violence clients.
Equally important, HopeLine helps keep tons of electronic waste and batteries out of landfills. In fact, since the launch of the program, HopeLine has helped collect more than seven million phones and awarded more than $7.9 million in cash grants to domestic violence agencies and organizations throughout the country. In addition, they have distributed more than 90,000 phones with the equivalent of more than 300 million minutes of free wireless service to be used by victims of domestic violence, and kept more than 200 tons of electronic waste and batteries out of landfills.
Volunteers from the greater Green Bay area were stationed at various Lambeau Field entrances to collect the items. Three volunteers, from the Shawano High School cheerleading team, were happy to help the cause and managed to collect several phones.
“I can’t believe how many phones we’ve been able to collect,” Adrianna Lonica said. “I’d say we have at least 50 phones by now, and that’s great. All the phones collected will go to help various domestic abuse program clients.”
Lonica was joined by teammates Mimi Alshehry and Hayley McHugh prior to the game, and the trio put their cheer squad techniques to use as they not only collected many phones but made sure to make passing fans aware of the cause.
While Sunday’s showdown was the classic border-war battle, fans were there for the ultimate NFL matchup. In fact, it wasn’t rare to see Packers fans and Vikings fans entering the game side-by-side.
Catey Smith, who was at her first NFL game, proudly wore her Vikings colors, even though her mother, Sandy, admitted she was mainly a Favre fan. And while Sandy wore the Green and Gold colors, she too wore the number so many Packers fans can’t let go of quite yet.
“We’re from Brookfield, Wis., and we’re Packers fans, well at least I am,” Sandy Smith said. “My daughter is here cheering for the Vikings, but I think she is mainly a Favre fan.”
Another group of fans, made sure to locate their family name on one of the Green Bay Packers commemorative bricks that surround the stadium.
“We try to make it here for at least two games a year and tonight, we wanted to make sure and see our family name at Lambeau,” Linda Wirth said.
One fan, Sasauka Karunauayake, originally from Sri Lanka, was glad to finally get a true Lambeau Field experience.
After residing in Australia for the majority of his life, Karunauayake, first became a Packers fan after taking notice of the similarities American football had with Australian football.
“Even though I am from Australia, I started to get into the game of American football because of the big hits,” Karunauayake said. “Back in Australia, they play American football highlights, so that is how I got to see the sport and eventually get into it.”
“For whatever reason, I caught wind of the tradition the Packers have, how they are owned by the community and such, and that was the coolest thing to me. Knowing about their strong history definitely stuck with me, and then I became a big Reggie White fan, so since then, I’ve been a fan. At the time I wasn’t too familiar with the game but because I had so much respect for Reggie White and the history of the team, I couldn’t help but be a fan.”
Karunauayake, who now resides in Winter Park, Colo., is confident that he will continue to be a Packers fan, especially after making his first trip to Lambeau.
“Tonight has been great,” he said. “I’ll always remember that first moment, walking into the stadium tonight. As we got closer and closer, just hearing the excitement from the fans was something I have never experienced.”
Fans were treated to a special halftime performance as the United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, a 39-Marine unit, performed a complex drill sequence.
And from the shrill of cheers the platoon received, it was clear their performance and service to the country do not go unnoticed.
The platoon’s coordinator was grateful for the opportunity Sunday and knows that every performance is done with the utmost respect.
“We start out with 100 marines and after we go through the selection process, we select 16 members and give them the opportunity to travel the world,” he said. “Through their performance, they get to represent the entire Marine Corps. The way we execute at each and every show is always the same; we always do our part to represent all those serving for our country.”
Before kickoff, fans were given the opportunity to attend a meet-and-greet session with two former Green Bay Packers in the Tundra Tailgate Zone. Both Doug Hart, (1964-71), and Mark Murphy, (1980-85, 87-91), signed autographs and met with fans before the game.
“It’s always great to come back to Lambeau,” Hart said. “Spending time with fans is always rewarding and something I enjoy doing.”
Check out photos from Sunday’s non-game action here.