Local man in hospice care gets to see Packers play on Lambeau Field

Published: Feb. 8, 2018 at 10:51 PM CST
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A local man in hospice care thought his health would stop him from getting to see his favorite team play at Lambeau Field one more time. Then his hospice team gave him that chance.

“Lon has very good humor,” said social worker Kassie Dunbar.

“I don't know how the hell they put up with me,” Lon Putzer said.

Seventy-six-year-old Lon Putzer of Altoona is not short on laughs, but he's not short on green and gold either.

“Since 1946, I was 6 years old.” Putzer said. “I always was a fan of football and then my folks were also Packers fans, but back then, they weren't called the Green Bay Packers, they were called the ‘Meat Packers’.”

But over the last couple of years, this Packers lover has faced some health problems, including a heart attack and subsequent congestive heart failure diagnosis. That's when he and his wife decided Home Health and Hospice at Mayo Clinic Health System was the next step.

It was then, that the Putzer's got to know the home care team, including Dunbar.

“I have learned a lot from him,” she said. “He’s been teaching me on the side how to play cribbage.”

For the hospice team, it was not hard to see Putzer's love for the green and gold throughout his home.

That's when they got together to help Lon make the trip to the Lambeau Field one more time.

“It means a lot to me, it does,” Lon said.

And in December, Lon attended his fourth Packers game.

“That made my day. I got to go up there and I as very fortunate to have my family with me, at least one and my son-in-law, and we had a good time until halftime because it was freezing out. So we decided we're going home. But I enjoyed every minute of it and I got to thank the Lord. I’m very proud of it. If I could do it again, I’d do it again, but that's the way it is.”

“That weekend when I watched the game as well, I was thinking about him and wondering how it was going,” Dunbar said. “We knew it would go well, we had everything set up. We had a hospice travel contact set up so if something were to happen.”

Although the Packers lost to the Vikings that game, Lon said it’s something he'll never forget or the people who helped put it together.

“It’s definitely been a humbling experience and it reaffirms what we do is what we do, being a part of hospice,” Dunbar said. “Those that are on our team have our heart in the right place, and being able to see some of our patients have some of those desires filled at the end of life journey is pretty incredible.”

“Take care of yourself, accept the help that you can get and enjoy life when you can because you never know when the end is coming, and I bless the Lord every day for the day I got,” Lon said.

Although it was cold, Lon added he was grateful to be able to travel to Lambeau Field one more time with his family.