State Trooper Call Army Wife After Fanmail To Peyton Manning
HeartEternal Staff 2/1/2017
America has long been mesmerized by the gladiator like athleticism of football players on the field. For many the sport is more than just a game. It represents a culture and cohort that is greater than self. Even newborns seem to voice their favorites as soon as they can fit in a team onesie!
Friendly team banter is part of any game night. But in all that excitement, we might forget that some players that we worship and love so much on the field, are just like you and me off the field - despite being very big and very strong.
Proving the point is this story which involves Kristen Patterson, an army wife, who decided to take a chance and write to her husband's favorite quarterback, Peyton Manning.
Jennifer's husband Ryan Patterson is an Army Sergeant whose fascination with Manning started while watching the Indianapolis Colts. When Manning decided to be the quarterback for Denver Broncos, Ryan followed suit and even tried to relocate his family to Colorado to catch the Broncos playing!
As luck would have it, instead of Colorado, Ryan, Kristen, and their 10-month old daughter Olivia landed in North Pole, Alaska! Perhaps something about being in a place that is full of holiday spirit and magic, Kristen took a chance and in September wrote a letter to Peyton Manning requesting to meet him during their next visit to see their families in the Midwest. Ryan of course had no idea. This is what the letter said,
Dear Mr. Manning,
My name is Kristen Patterson. I am writing to ask a question. You see my husband is a HUGE fan, and when I say HUGE I mean it. He is currently serving our country in the United States Army and has deployed twice to Afghanistan. He would set alarms to wake up at odd hours in the night just to listen to your football games. We recently had to move across the country for the Army and he tried to get us stationed in Colorado just so he could ensure that he would never miss your games.
We will be attending the Bengals vs. Broncos game on December 22, 2014, while home for the holidays, and it would mean so much to my husband if you might be able to find the time to just even say hello, not to mention it would make me to coolest wife ever of all time. I know you are a busy man, and if you can't, it will be ok. I just thought I might ask in the rare chance that you might agree to this.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
The letter was probably like thousands of other fan mail that a player like Peyton Manning is bound to receive. But this is where Manning proves that he isn't some godly distant celebrity. Manning was touched by Ryan's story and decided that yes indeed, he too would like to meet him and his family. One would think that this where the story gets easy, but not so!
As Kristen realized later, she never included her contact information in the original letter. But Manning was determined and got the help of Alaska State Troopers to track the Pattersons down. It took three months but sure enough they tracked down Kristen, who at first was very confused,
"When I got a call from (an Alaska) state trooper they asked if I wrote a letter to Peyton Manning. They said the Denver Broncos were trying to get a hold of me. When I sent it, you never know if someone is going to read it or if it is going to be tossed in a pile. So I thought they never read it, no big deal."
Facebook/Joel A. Freeman
Thrilled and excited, Kristen kept the scheduled meeting a secret, until they pulled up to the Bronco's hotel lobby in Cincinnati on December 21. At this point the secret was too obvious even for Ryan. Ryan recalls:
"The team's flight was delayed, so I was pacing the room like I was expecting a child. I saw (Manning) come up the escalator and my first reaction was he is at least 15 feet tall, if not taller. Peyton introduced himself, asked my daughter's name and played with her for a second and thanked me for my service. He seemed genuinely tickled that we lived in North Pole, Alaska ... He said, 'You guys are really hard to find' ... Before he left he shook my hand and thanked me for my service one more time and I thanked him for being my quarterback."
And just like that December 21 probably became one of the most memorable ones in Ryan's life. Even though Kristen hadn't expected much in return of that simple letter, what she got was a show of Manning's generosity and genuine appreciation for their own life story. Ryan, not only are you really lucky, but good luck trying to shop for your wife's next present!
Sources: Indy Star, Image Credit: Facebook/Joel A. Freeman, Image Credit: Facebook/Jennifer Hoff