Ricky Moore has been a Green Bay Packers fan since he was 5 years old.
Ever since then, he has dreamed of going to Green Bay, Wisconsin, to see the team play. He once went to an away game when he was a child, but to be in the home stadium… that is the ultimate experience for a fan.
However, the dream had long seemed impossible. Moore, who has one leg after a diabetes-related amputation, is a resident at The Woodlands in Muncie, Indiana. He can’t drive, and Lambeau Field, where the Packers play, is about 450 miles away from the skilled nursing and rehab center.
Shawnee Morton, a licensed practical nurse at The Woodlands, turned out to be a sort of fairy godmother for Moore.
“When I first started here, I saw Ricky stroll by the nurse’s station, and he was wearing his Packers hat,” Morton remembered.
Morton and her husband, David, are also avid Packers fans, and they began taking Moore to their house several times a season to watch Packers’ games with them.
The Mortons helped Moore decorate his room at the facility with Packers memorabilia. They then took things a step further and started setting aside funds to go to a home game on Sept. 28… and raising funds to take Moore with them.
Associates at The Woodlands supported the project. One way was by participating in the fundraisers the Mortons held for Moore’s travel expenses. David refurbished stools and tables bought at yard sales, and Morton painted them with NFL team logos and sold them to fans.
The facility team also helped Moore get ready to make the trip physically. Starting in July, therapists set specific goals with Moore to help him increase his mobility on his prosthetic leg. By September, he was stronger and able to manage some stairs and walk up to 200 feet at a time.
The Mortons got tickets in the handicap section, but the increased independence gave Moore a better stadium experience and helped his endurance.
The group faced a setback in August when Morton unexpectedly had to have gall bladder surgery, but despite the loss of fundraising events, the couple still made the trip a priority. Thankfully, Morton recovered with no complications, and on Sept. 27, the three Cheeseheads started driving to Green Bay.
The Monday Night Football game was everything Moore could have wished for as the Packers took on the Kansas City Chiefs.
“When we rolled him into the stadium, he was wiping away tears,” said Morton. “He kept saying, ‘I can’t believe it’s real.’”
“I loved when they scored,” said Moore. “It felt real good.”
The Packers scored quite a bit, winning the game 38-28. And to top it all, off…
“Aaron Rodgers waved at me,” Moore said.
Rodgers is the quarterback for the team.
“When Aaron Rodgers waved at him, that was pretty awesome,” said Morton. “He will never forget that.”
The trip wasn’t over, though. The Mortons took Moore to an autograph session with the players, where he got to meet them, and over the next few days, the three friends toured the area, including the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, where Vince Lombardi’s desk is housed.
“It was all so wonderful,” Morton said.
How did Moore enjoy the trip?
“My dream came true, thanks to Shawnee and her husband.”