Packers Fan Hall of Fame's newest member
Patricia Nevala made a lot of trips between Menomonie and Green Bay during the last 51 years, some better than others. This one will rank among the best.
Nevala on Tuesday was named the 18th member of the Green Bay Packers Fan Hall of Fame.
"I didn't know anything about it until after the finalists were announced and (son Jon) called me and said 'Mom, sit down,'" she said.
Nevala was raised in Thorp and attended her first Packers game in 1959, after graduating from high school. She got season tickets in 1965, the same year she and her husband, Merlin, moved to Menomonie. Until they started sharing tickets with their adult kids, they missed very few games, she said.
"Lots of trips back and forth ... good games, bad games," she said. "It's what we do. It's a family thing. It's been forever. Love it."
More than 25,000 votes were cast by Packers fans from around the world.
"It's a thrill after, like I say, these 50 years of tickets, and now I'm in this elite group of Packers backers and there's what, 18 of us? That's it. That's pretty cool. Pretty cool," she said.
Jon Nevala's nomination essay talked about his mom's dedication to the team, taking family trips to Green Bay for games, practices or "just because."
"We were so blessed to spend time in the Pontiac Grand Safari wagon and experience the aura of Packers pride through our mom," Jon wrote in his nomination. "While changes to the world of the Packers mirrors that of changes in life, one constant during that time has been the commitment and loyalty of the lady seated in Section 103, Row 32, Seat 2 to her 'boys.'"
Nevala is a lifelong Packers fan because her mother was.
"My mom was such a Packers fan. That's what we did as kids, listened to games on the radio because we didn't have TV," said Nevala, who retired as office manager of the Menomonie Fire Department after 20 years.
Nevala will receive four club seats to a 2016 Packers home game, a $500 Packers Pro Shop gift certificate, a road trip for two to a 2016 Packers away game and a one-year subscription to the Packers Plus publication. Her name will be added to a plaque in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame at Lambeau Field.
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2016 Packers Fan Hall of Fame nominees
Chris Biermann, Cedarburg
Matt Lutsey, De Pere
Larry Schimmel, Pinckney, Mich.
Julie Franseen, Franksville
Sara Wisniewski, Milwaukee
Karen Brannen, Kaiua, Hawaii
Ryan Murray, Whitehouse Station, N.J.
Michael Steinmetz, Hannover, Germany
Patricia Nevala, Menomonie
John Holt, Tacoma, Wash.
Packers Fan Hall of Fame members
Mel Knoke, Appleton
Louis Gardipee, Black River Falls
Ed Jablonski, Wausau
Paul Mazzoleni, Green Bay
Wanda Boggs, Brookfield
Sister Isaac Jogues Rousseau, Milwaukee
Dorothy Hanke, Milwaukee
Kathy Lazzaro, Milwaukee
Rich Barbera, River Vale, N.J.
Richard "Ike" Eisenhauer, Wauwatosa
Allan Hale, Green Bay
Jim Becker, Racine
Tom Little, Mount Sterling, Ill.
Rick Steele, Greensburg, Pa.
Edward Fritsch, Sheboygan
Vivian Scherf-Laabs, Cedarburg
Steve Schumer, Gillette, N.J.
Patricia Nevala, Menomonie