American Legion members saluted for Operation Fan Mail

GREEN BAY, Wis.—Aug. 8, 2019—The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to several American Legion members during Thursday’s Packers-Texans game for Operation Fan Mail.

Those saluted prior to the game include:

  • Jim Chapin, from St. Croix Falls, Wis., joined the U.S. Army in 1967 and was deployed to Vietnam soon after. He received two Bronze Stars, one with Valor, and was awarded the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster. He currently serves as the State American Legion Finance Chairman.

  • Tim Baranzyk, who is originally from Shell Lake, Wis., joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1966 and was deployed to Vietnam from 1967-68 during the Tet Offensive as a fire direction control on the DMZ. After deployment, he served in the military police until 1969. He now serves as a volunteer at the Milwaukee VA, helping homeless veterans.

  • Brian Burdick, who is originally from Wautoma, Wis., enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1995 and has been deployed five times, including to Afghanistan in 2009 as a commissioned officer in the Nurse Corps. Commander Select Burdick is currently stationed at Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, Va., where he serves as the assistant department head of the emergency department.

  • Amber Nikolai, who is originally from Omro, Wis., served in the U.S. Navy as Master-at-Arms from 2002 to 2005, and was deployed to Okinawa, Japan, and Souda Bay, Crete, Greece. She worked for the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Department for six years and served for five years with the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King. She currently serves as the Department Adjutant for the American Legion in Wisconsin, where she is responsible for the management of over 50,000 Legionnaires and 500 posts throughout Wisconsin.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to honor families with a member who is on active duty, or a member who is a veteran. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling. The Packers and WPS Health Solutions will host a family at each 2019 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 118 individuals, families or groups have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Solutions 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 next season. Essays can be sent to Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628 or online.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families will receive four tickets to the game and a $150 Packers Pro Shop gift card courtesy of WPS Health Solutions.

To see a gallery of past honorees, visit


American Legion members (left to right): Tim Baranzyk (Marines), Brian Burdick (Navy), Jim Chapin (Army), and Amber Nikolai (Navy). (Photo by Katie Hermsen/Green Bay Packers)