BLOOMER — Wisconsin’s most beloved sports franchise came to the Chippewa Valley on Friday to help support an important part of law enforcement.
On Friday afternoon the Green Bay Packers Tailgate Tour made a surprise stop at the Moose Lodge in Bloomer prior to their public engagement in Chippewa Falls. The organization donated $2,000 to the Bloomer Police Department, with the funds going toward supporting the department’s K-9 program.
Bloomer police officer Brandon Poppe said the donation was incredibly generous and will be put to good use in the program.
“It’s a remarkable thing they do as an organization,” Poppe said. “It’s something we can really benefit from as well, and we really appreciate the opportunity and generosity they’ve shown us.”
The K-9 officer in Bloomer is named Rocky, and Poppe said he does a variety of things which benefit the department. Rocky’s main job is to find drugs and narcotics — methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy — in addition to tracking the drugs.
The $2,000 donation will go toward medical expenses and food for Rocky, Poppe said, as the K-9 program is almost 100 percent donation-funded.
A few members of the Packers organization made a stop prior to the event in the police department building, with Poppe being called in to help describe the program to the famed NFL franchise.
“When they stopped at the police department I was actually off duty,” Poppe said. “Our secretary called me, because she knows just how big of a Packer fan I am, and she said ‘Hey, I have some Packers here, would you be able to come talk to them about Rocky?’ I thought she was joking, but I go in and there they were. It was a really cool experience for both parties.”
The Packers Tailgate Tour is an annual tour which sees Packers current players and alumni visit a number of cities to meet fans and raise money for local nonprofit organizations. This year saw six alumni due to Packers training starting early due to a coaching change. The six former Green Bay Packers included Nick Barnett, Ryan Grant, Scott Wells, Earl Dotson, Bernardo Harris and Aaron Kampman.
Packers president Mark Murphy said it is a pleasure to visit Bloomer and see so many people come out and support a vital part of their community.
“We’re really excited to be here in Bloomer and help raise a ton of money for the K-9 unit,” Murphy said. “It’s not often you actually meet the dog, so it is really great to be here. We just want to thank everyone for coming out and supporting the unit and us on our 14th annual tailgate tour.”
In addition to the $2,000 donation from the Packers, additional funds were raised for the Bloomer Police K-9 program through a $20 admission cover fee for the event and raffle tickets were sold for Packers merchandise.
For more information on the Bloomer Police and their K9 program you can follow them on Facebook.