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Packers honor Special Olympics Wisconsin before and during preseason game

Posted at 12:35 AM, Aug 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-20 09:03:35-04

LAMBEAU FIELD (NBC 26) — Friday's Packers preseason game was not only a special night for the fans to see their team in action at home again.

The Packers returned the favor by honoring some inspiring athletes.

This is the time of year Lambeau Field gets lots of attention.

"I'm just here for the people and watching the Packers win," Wisconsin Special Olympian Taylor Stafford said.

But for Friday night's game, all eyes were on Wisconsin Special Olympics athletes.

"I probably could speak for all the athletes that it touches their hearts," Wisconsin Special Olympian Marquis Garner said.

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About 1,000 Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes and their families participate in a group photo on Ariens Hill in the Titletown District before the Packers game.

These athletes took a free bus ride to Lambeau. They also got to watch the game from their own seats for free.

"I'm hoping to get a glimpse of my boyfriend, Aaron Rodgers," Wisconsin Special Olympian Cindy Bentley joked. "I like him."

And on top of that, they experienced the legendary field before the game citing the Special Olympics Athlete Oath.

"The oath is 'Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt,'" Special Olympics Wisconsin President & CEO Chad Hershner said.

As part of their Give Back Game, the Packers honored Special Olympics Wisconsin as its non-profit partner.

The organization is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

At halftime, some of the Special Olympians played a flag football game.

"That's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Hershner said.

A special night to give back to an inspiring group of athletes.

"People are finally going to see us for who we are," Bentley said.

The Packers' partnership with Special Olympics Wisconsin is part of the OUR TEAM initiative, which recognizes inclusion in sports.