U.S. Army sergeant Ryan Patterson is a huge Peyton Manning fan. The Indiana native used to watch Colts games in the middle of the night when he was stationed in Afghanistan. He even tried to get transferred to Colorado when Manning signed with Denver.
Patterson's wife, Kristen, sent a letter to the Broncos earlier this season asking if there was any way her husband could meet Manning. Manning wanted to make it happen, but Kristen didn't include any contact information. So Manning asked the Broncos PR team to try and track the Pattersons down.
That proved to be a difficult task, because they live in the town of North Pole, Alaska.
It took three months but the Broncos tracked down Patterson's phone number through the utility company in North Pole. The company contacted the state troopers, who called Kristen Patterson.
Kristen and the Broncos were able to set up a meeting when the Broncos played in Cincinnati and the Pattersons were in the area for the holidays.
"He seemed genuinely tickled that we lived in North Pole, Alaska. He said, 'You guys are really hard to find,'" Sgt. Patterson told the Star. "Before he left he shook my hand and thanked me for my service one more time and I thanked him for being my quarterback."
The Star also has a copy of the letter Kristen sent:
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 to 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.
Manning actually threw four interceptions in the game against the Bengals that Sgt. Patterson attended, but Patterson probably didn't mind.
- Dan Gartland