It's hard to believe that just two weeks ago, the community was rocked by Winter Storm Wesley, a blizzard so intense it seemed destined to derail New Richmond's biggest fundraising event ever, the Green Bay Packer Tailgate Tour and Chris Kroeze concert.

Never fear, MIke Demulling and his dedicated staff at the New Richmond Airport were here, undaunted by the immense task before them. Hand-in-hand with members of the New Richmond Police Department, St. Croix County Sheriff's Department, New Richmond Chamber of Commerce, city staff and an army of citizen volunteers, the show did go on and it will go down in Packer history as the most successful single stop in Tailgate Tour history raising $177,000. It will also go down in community history as an unforgettable demonstration of how stout a will and big a heart we have when it comes to standing up for those less fortunate members in the city.

"I have never been a part of an event like this before. The amount of support that came from western Wisconsin on behalf of Grace Place is overwhelming! People are so generous and I am in awe of how many folks came out to see the Packers and Chris Kroeze at our event, despite the weather. Grace Place could not have raised the funds we raised without the hard work and generosity of this community. We had a great team of people who worked super hard to help the homeless. We live in a great community," said Angela Moulton, Media and Fundraising Manager for Salvation Army in St. Croix, Polk and Burnett Counties.

Moulton confirmed all funds raised will stay local to benefit the residents at Grace Place, the Salvation Army's transitional housing program which provides homeless prevention services to families and individuals in St. Croix, Polk, and Pierce counties.

Grace Place Director Duana Bremer was recognized for her selfless dedication to serving families and individuals impacted by homelessness in the St. Croix River Valley. The Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition presented on behalf of 7th District U. S. Rep. Sean Duffy read in part, "It's easy to see the value of Duana's leadership in the fight against homelessness. All you need to do is talk to her team around her. The staff and volunteers at Grace Place describe her as, 'a fantastic leader and champion for those in need. Her efforts to secure funding and bring programs into rural communities that will help the most vulnerable are truly inspiring. She never gives up and her tireless efforts are an inspiration.' Duana truly is an inspiration."

What you might not know about the Packers' visit was, due to the storm on Thursday, April 11, CEO Mark Murphy and company were not able to make a surprise visit to meet with the employees at RISE ESR, a New Richmond company that provides employment and services for adults with disabilities.

Despite the full day Thursday including the weather, VIP get together and tailgate event that ran well into the evening and instead of sticking to the schedule, the Packers elected to get up early on Friday morning and head over to surprise the employees at RISE as they arrived at work before heading over to The Deerfield for their first official stop of the day on Friday.

The Packers wrapped up their historic visit to New Richmond with a stop at The Deerfield to surprise residents with a little Green and Gold magic. Murphy and his traveling companions Scott Wells, Nick Barnett, Aaron Kampman, Earl Dotson, Ryan Grant and Bernardo Harris spent the morning sharing stories, answering questions, posing for photos and selfies, serving up trays of doughnuts and making memories with a building full of tried and true Packer fans before heading to Chippewa Falls.

"It was an honor to help raise money for Grace Place. Seeing firsthand the support the organization received at the event reaffirmed our choice to work with them. It's a privilege to connect with nonprofits like Grace Place and help further their mission. Our communities are fortunate to have such caring organizations that serve needs so well," said Murphy.