January 9, 2015
By Lorra B.
Army Sgt. Ryan Patterson is a loyal Colts fan and Peyton Manning his idol. Little did he know that he was going to get the surprise of his life.
Sgt. Patterson, of the 1/25 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, grew up watching Manning and would go to great lengths to make sure he could stream the Colts games. While on tour in Afghanistan, he would set alarms and woke at all hours of the night so that he could watch them play.
Knowing just how much her husband wanted to meet Manning, Sgt. Patterson’s wife, Kristen, sent a letter to the Denver Broncos…
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 the 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 only problem: Kristen had forgotten to put a return address on the letter, and the family had recently moved to North Pole, Alaska, where Ryan is stations at Fort Wainwright,” stated ESPN.
Manning asked the Bronco’s public relations department for help in locating the couple. After three long months of searching, and thanks to an Alaskan utility company, they were finally found.
It was the Alaska State Troopers who contacted Kristen asking if she had been the one to write a letter to Manning.
“I was completely shocked,” stated Kristen. “Who takes the time to call someone’s electric company and get their phone number?” according to 9News.
“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.”
The meeting with Manning was to be a surprise from Ryan, but once they arrived at the Bronco’s team hotel, the secret just couldn’t be kept and the cat was out of the bag. “The lobby was full of fans, and Sgt. Patterson assumed he was going to have the opportunity to take a quick photo and get an autograph,” reports Rare. “Instead, the couple was whisked up to a private conference room, where Manning arrived to meet them.”
“I saw (Manning) come up the escalator and my first reaction was he is at least 15 feet tall, if not taller,” stated Sgt. Patterson. “He seemed genuinely tickled that we lived in North Pole, Alaska.”
Manning took the time to play with, Olivia, the Pattersons 10-month-old daughter and took a couple pictures as well.
Having received an autographed football, Patterson thanked Manning for ‘being his quarterback’ and Manning thanked Patterson for his service.
We salute you, Sgt. Ryan Patterson, for your service and sacrifice. There is nothing like hearing one of our heroes getting to meet one of theirs, Peyton Manning. A well deserved surprise of a lifetime.
By Lorra B.