By Pfc. Howard Ketter
20th Public Affairs Detachment
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska – Athletes from the National Football League and Major League Baseball visited Ft. Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base March 7 through the 14.
The athletes were in town to attend the Unlimited Potential Inc.'s National Prayer Luncheon that took place at Ft. Wainwright's Northern Lights Chapel March 12.
Players from the Green Bay Packers, including new starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers, running back Noah Herron and wide receiver Ruvell Martin made several appearances around post. Free agent and former Packer Kevin Berry, retired New York Giants running back Keith Elias and retired Baltimore Orioles pitcher Anthony Telford also attended.
"I thought it was sweet to meet the future quarterback of the Green Bay Packers," said Sgt. Jarod A. Perkioniemi, a native of Farmington Hills, Michigan.
The players began their visit with an autograph signing at the Post Exchange.
Many sports fans stood in line as Berry and Telford signed hats, collectable cards, jerseys, shirts and calendars. Afterward, the athletes made their way to the Golden Nugget bowling alley where they bowled alongside fans and signed more autographs.
"It was a long ride but, we're excited to be here," said Rodgers. The football players ran a youth football clinic at the post's physical fitness center.
During this event the football players talked about and demonstrated their positions on the field. They ran a mock play and described to the fans what it takes for each player to make the play successful. Then the players showed their young fans in attendance how to physically perform their individual tasks for their positions on the field.
All of the athletes are members of UPI, a ministry dedicated to bettering peoples lives. Through visiting different posts, the athletes spread a religious message, explaining what it takes to get where they are.
After attending the National Prayer Luncheon the athletes attended an Army combative presentation by Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment. There the players participated in the training, learning combative techniques from the Soldiers. The football players were also shown the many different uniforms Soldiers wear, and how mortars work.
After interacting with Soldiers and family members on numerous occasions throughout the week, they departed Ft. Wainwright leaving many autographs and blessings with the "Arctic Warriors" and their families.