Frank Lamping postponed surgery for Packers
GREEN BAY - The greatest thrill of Frank Lamping's lifetime of following the Green Bay Packers was almost getting Bart Starr's autograph. He once postponed prostate cancer surgery because it would have caused him to miss a home game. And he wears Ty Detmer game-worn cleats and hand-trims a patch of Lambeau Field turf replanted in the back yard of his Union Grove home.
Appropriately, Lamping was named the 19th member of the Green Bay Packers FAN Hall of Fame.
"All these great fans we have, to be here is heaven," Lamping said while standing on the edge of Lambeau Field's hallowed turf.
Lamping might be the first nominee to be accompanied by a busload of supporters who helped pack the Packers media auditorium for Tuesday's announcement. When President/CEO Mark Murphy heard chants of "Go Frank Go" thundering around the room, he must have been relieved that he wasn't handing the Hall of Fame plaque to one of the other nine nominees.
They included John Powers of Savage, Minn., Rosemary Scheible of Wauwatosa, Kay Kuester Doran of Antigo, Karen Troyanek of LaCrosse, Carol Postulka of Pierre, S.D., LaNore Anderson of Thorp, Mike Sledz of Grayslake, Ill., George Oudhuis of Rolling Prairie, Ind., and Terry Schwefel of Watertown.
"Frank continues to battle cancer, but at the same time has not wavered in his devotion to his community just as he has not wavered in his devotion to the Packers," said friend Don Schauf in his nomination essay. "He has not slowed in his volunteering or enthusiasm for life."
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Lamping says he's the first person into the bowl for every home game, which he's attended since Lambeau Field opened. His seats are in the first row of the south end zone, where he catches practice punts and field goals during warmups.
It was there that he had his brush with Bart Starr, who was attending an alumni game. Lamping draped his Starr jersey over the railing for the Hall of Fame quarterback to sign. Starr was ready, pen in hand, but a security escort whisked him away too soon.
"That was the thrill of a lifetime, Bart almost signing it," Lamping said.
Given a stage, Lamping, 60, was certain to use it Tuesday, urging that all men over the age of 45 get prostate exams. He recently completed a course of chemotherapy and is about to start immunotherapy. He said things are looking up, despite battling stage 4 cancer, which means it has spread to other parts of the body.
"Things are good, especially today," he said.
Union Grove friends and relatives, who call him "Jumbotron" because of his frequent appearance on Lambeau Field video boards, held several fundraisers and pep rallies for Lamping.
"They said 'Frank, be there,' and I was there. And 300 people showed up," Lamping said.
He enjoyed the attention, but designated that the $3,000 raised be donated to the Relay for Life cancer program.
As the newest Hall member, Lamping received a $500 Packers Pro Shop gift certificate, a road trip for two to a 2017 road game, a one-year subscription to "Packers Plus" magazine, and his name will be permanently displayed with other FAN members in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
Oh, and he also gets four club seats to a 2017 Packers home game. Here's betting those will be used by friends of Frank, because club seats are a long way from the first row of the south end zone.