MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- On Tuesday, December 24th, Former Green Bay Packers receiver Bill Schroeder was one of several people who helped make Christmas special for some Wounded Warriors.
In 2001 Schroeder led the National Football Conference in yards per catch. These days he works as an athletic trainer at Don Beebe's House of Speed in Green Bay. On Christmas Eve Day the man who made a living as a receiver, was giving signed Packers footballs to three local military families.
"I'm very blessed to have played for the Green Bay Packers, the greatest sports franchise in history, but I would never put myself in the category of hero," said Schroeder. "I might be a celebrity to people, but the heroes are the people that put their lives on the line."
In addition to the footballs, the families were treated to a Christmas dinner courtesy of Tommy Kraus, owner of Emily's Restaurant in Slinger. Kraus says he's had it on his heart to honor our nation's heroes for months now.
"Today was an emotional day for me. My grandfather was a WWII vet. To be a part of these guys today, these soldiers that have protected us, to be able to go into these families to say thank you for what they have sacrificed and what they have done for us," said Kraus.
A husband and father of two young daughters, Chris Kroer served in the Wisconsin Army National Guard in Sussex. After being deployed, he suffered back and rotator cuff injuries and was eventually medically discharged.
"This is neat. I didn't expect this kind of a turnout. I really didn't expect this. I just want to say thank you to everybody and to the fellow veterans as well," said Kroer.
Army Staff Sergeant Mario Davis of Waukesha who served a tour in Afghanistan and two in Iraq, was just 27-years-old when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Davis was hoping to serve 20 years but made it just 11.
"I love my infantry brothers and I love my job and I would give anything to be out there again to be on the front lines," said Davis.
Carissa Davis says it breaks her heart not to be able to be on a military post so her and her family could welcome soldiers into their home over the holidays. She says she's thankful, though, that her husband is home during this special season.
"It's probably one of the best feelings in the world knowing that he's safe, he's alive. He came back with injuries, per say, but he's alive. He's here," said Carissa Davis.
Troy Broussard of Waukesha served in Vietnam. After losing both his legs, Broussard doesn't get out much. His wife, Carrie, is blind but the couple's sweet, loving spirits fill each person who comes in contact with them.
Those who visited the military families reflected on the meaning of the day.
"It's good to take care of your brothers whether they're your generation, whether you served with them or not," said one volunteer.
"I'd rather give than receive," said Schroeder. "And these guys have given the ultimate sacrifice. I think it's time for us to give to them, too."
CLICK HERE if you are interested in working with the Wounded Warriors and their families.