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Dedication and pride: Story of a Packers' fan

By Navy Seaman Apprentice Jarrod A. Schad Defense Information School

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Ron R. Rahorn said he grew up watching the Green Bay Packers in Beloit, Wisconsin. Rahorn became a fan by default because of how young he was when he was first exposed to the Packers. His dad sat him down in front of the TV to watch the game every Sunday during football season.

“We were watching Lombardi’s Packers dominate the NFL,” said Rahorn, now the department head of the Broadcast Operations and Maintenance Department at the Defense Information School (DINFOS). 
His earliest memories of the Packers date back to the era of Vincent T. Lombardi, one of the Packers’ most prestigious head coaches, Rahorn said. 
He did not know how to explain the Packers’ performance in the 60s, except to say it was sweet. He had no idea then, but his love for the Packers would positively impact both his life and others’ around him.
Rahorn said he has met numerous Packers football players over his almost 60-year tenure as a fan. 
Rahorn moved to Arizona while he was in the eighth grade. Shortly after, he traveled with his father to watch the Packers face the Los Angeles Rams at the Coliseum in Los Angeles. They joined a Phoenix-based DJ who was born in Wisconsin who arranged a tour to Los Angeles. The group flew out to Los Angeles and checked into the same hotel that the Packers’ players were staying at. 
As they sat outside of the hotel lobby watching the players come out in uniform, Rahorn said he saw Daniel J. Devine, the Packers’ head coach, through a glass window. Rahorn then took the opportunity to open the door for Devine, who had a broken leg at the time.
Rahorn said he beat William V. Wood, a Packers safety who helped increase the Packers’ lead against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first Super Bowl, to opening the door for Devine. 
That evening, as the Packers were returning for dinner at the hotel, he saw Bryan B. Starr, the Packers’ quarterback, walking toward the elevator with another Packers player, Rahorn said. He turned and told his dad that he had always wanted to meet Starr, so his dad encouraged him to say hello. 
He jumped up, running down the hall to catch up to Starr, Rahorn said. He abruptly slowed down to match the walking speed of the two players. The players had their backs to Rahorn as he walked up to the elevator.
Rahorn said he casually looked up at Starr and said, “Oh, Bart Starr! I’ve always wanted to meet you!” Starr responded to Rahorn by shaking his hand and asking him his name, why he was there and where he was from.
“It was all about me,” Rahorn said. “That dude was solid class.” 
He said that was one of his favorite two Packers stories.
Rahorn said his other favorite Packers story took place on his wedding day. Without knowing it, he planned to marry his high school sweetheart on the day that the Packers were facing the Detroit Lions in a Monday Night Football matchup in October of 1972.
“I did manage to watch the whole first quarter,” Rahorn said. “The Packers were up 7-zip.” 
Rahorn said he jumped in the car and made the five-minute drive up to the church. He walked in just a few minutes before the ceremony started. 
“The dude that performed the ceremony looked at me and said, ‘Holy cow! The Packers are on TV and you’re here? This has gotta be true love!’” Rahorn said.
Fast forward to the summer of 2013 when the Packers were renovating their stadium. They were selling bricks that fans could personalize and put into the newly renovated walls of the stadium, Rahorn said. 
“If you go to the atrium, the first one to the right, on the bottom of the first block of names, you will see an anniversary gift from our three daughters,” Rahorn said. 
The brick reads “Ron and Heather Rahorn. 10-16-72. ‘Gotta be true love.’” Rahorn said that was the best gift anyone could have ever gotten him. 
Now that he lives in Maryland, Rahorn said he cannot watch every Packer game because they are not the local team. He does not go to bars to watch the games like some Packers fans would. 
“I can’t stand watching games with someone who’s rooting for the other team when it’s a Packer game,” Rahorn said. “I just can’t. I cannot do it.” 
He said he watches the games in his basement instead. He has multiple Lombardi quotes framed and hanging on the walls of his basement. He loves Lombardi’s inspirational quotes.
“There are very few people I know that have as much passion for football as Mr. Rahorn, especially for the Packers,” said Brent Skeen, Rahorn’s colleague and former student, now the team leader for the Video Skills Team “B” for the Broadcast Communication Specialist course at DINFOS.
Skeen said that when he was a student at DINFOS, his class, Basic Broadcaster Course class 020-02, noticed that Rahorn wore Packers clothes all the time. 
“I think the man owns enough Packer-green shirts to wear for an entire month without having to wear the same shirt twice,” Skeen said. “It’s not just football season. It’s all year round.”
Skeen said he and his classmates all pitched in money to buy Rahorn a gift before they graduated DINFOS. They got Rahorn a football with the Packers’ logo engraved on it. 
As a DINFOS instructor, Skeen said, he was having a conversation with Rahorn in Rahorn’s office. Skeen said he looked up during the conversation and saw the football that his class had gotten Rahorn displayed on the shelf. 
“It was really cool to be able to see that the gift the students gave him he kept on the mantle on the shelf in his office,” Skeen said.
Rahorn retired Aug. 30. 
Skeen said it is going to be very different without Rahorn across the hall from his classroom or even in the schoolhouse at all. He said Rahorn leaves behind a huge legacy as one of the most passionate Packers fans at DINFOS.