New London woman named finalist for FAN Hall of Fame
By Greg Seubert
There’s a good reason why Kathy Fermanich’s telephone has been ringing off the hook lately at her rural New London home.
She can thank her daughter and Aaron Rodgers.
Fermanich’s daughter, Amanda Farrell of Appleton, recently nominated her mother for the Green Bay Packers’ FAN Hall of Fame. Fermanich is one of 10 finalists for the award, which the team will announce in February.
“The Packers emailed Amanda saying I was in the top 10 and they needed a quote from me,” Fermanich said. “She didn’t tell me until she got the email from the Packers that said I was in the top 10.
“She said, ‘Mom, I have to tell you something,’” she said. “When she told me that, I went, ‘Oh, no.’ “She said, ‘I nominated you for the Packer FAN Hall of Fame and you’re in the top 10.’ I bet my jaw dropped to me knees. I said, ‘What?’ I read her (nomination) letter and I cried.”
The Packers established the FAN Hall of Fame in 1998 to honor devout and longtime Packers fans.
Voting began on the team’s official website – www.packers.com – Jan. 1 and will continue until midnight on Friday, Jan. 31.
Fans can vote once a day at packers.com/fhof, according to Fermanich.
“I want those that are voting to keep voting,” she said. “Those that haven’t, please vote because this is my dream. My phone was never so warm as it was yesterday. It was buzzing all day long. I have the most wonderful, awesome friends in the world, and they’re helping me make this possible.”
Fermanich’s love affair with the Packers – and, in particular, Rodgers, the team’s quarterback – started recently.
“I hated football growing up,” she said. “I hated the fact that every Thanksgiving, all we did was watch football.”
She became interested in the Packers while working as a waitress at the Pine Tree Supper Club, a restaurant located a few miles west of New London on State Highway 54.
“I worked there for 16 years and got into the Packers big-time,” she said. “We had Packer parties and we’d get bombarded after home games. Packers fans going west came to the Pine Tree and they’d stop. We’d be busy, busy, busy after Packer games.”
Fermanich’s husband, Jerry, tolerates his wife’s obsession.
“My husband is not into football,” she said. “He never has been much of a sports fan. He loves old cars and that’s his life. When we built our first house, I wanted to paint the walls of the family room gold,” she said. “He said, ‘Yeah, that’s nice and bright.’ I ordered the carpet and the carpet came in dark green. He said, ‘I see where we’re going here.’”
Just the ticket
Fermanich jumped at the chance to purchase season tickets a few years ago.
“I have multiple sclerosis,” she said. “I am disabled and I wanted to go so bad. I found out I could get them (because of a disability) and that’s how I got them. I think I’ve had them seven years.”
Fermanich was able to get one ticket for her and three companion seats.
“I had four seats,” she said. “I always had somebody different and then I had a friend who bought two of the tickets. They would pick me up and take me because I can’t drive. They can’t do that anymore because they’re building a home and the weekends weren’t going to be available to them.
“I called the Packers and told them that I only need mine and a companion, somebody who can get me there and enjoy the game,” she added. “I have two tickets now. I had two different brothers that took me this past season, and they got to meet friends that have seats right next to mine.”
She gets to attend three regular-season home games each season. In 2019, she watched the Packers beat the Denver Broncos, Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders.
“There’s nobody in front of me and a walkway behind us,” she said. “I have excellent seats in the end zone. If my health continues to allow me to do it, I want to keep getting my ticket as long as I can. After that, I don’t know. I think I would just turn them over to the Packers. They’ll give them to someone else who can use them.”
Fermanich’s maiden name is Rodgers.
“My Grandpa Rodgers had a brother he didn’t get along with,” she said. “He left the family and he ended up in Chico, California, of all places.”
Aaron Rodgers is from Chico.
“I’ve never done a full family tree thing, but I should,” Fermanich said. “I just keep thinking there’s a possibility. I want to shake his hand and say, ‘Hi, Aaron.’ I have a full-sized cutout of him that I’m looking at right now. I won it at a raffle at the Fremont library. I’ve got it on my porch. Aaron Rodgers stole my heart. There’s something about Aaron Rodgers. Maybe it’s his name.”
Back in the playoffs
The Packers are back in the postseason for the first time since 2016 and will host the Seattle Seahawks at 5:40 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 12, in an NFC divisional playoff. The winner will advance to the NFC Championship Game.
Fermanich and her family will watch the game on TV.
“My 2019 health-wise was really bad,” she said. “What a way to start a new year. Just the thought of her doing this has made me so overwhelmed. If 2020 starts out like this, hopefully, it’s going to be a good year. This has been the boost I needed.”