Photo by Jerry Gay
Several community members and businesses helped put together the package that was sent to Delevan, Wisc. From left to right: Debbie Oswald of Fresh Fish Co., Suzie Burke of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, Ferrol Williams of the Mailbox, Rudy McCoy-Pantoja, Jr., Jess Fisher of Larsen’s Bakery, and Jacque Sigurdson of Marseille’s Hair Salon.

Through gift package, Ballard sends best regards to Wisconsin

It was the catch heard ‘round the world.

Monday, Sept. 24, Seattle Seahawks won a game against the Green Bay Packers on a controversial, last-minute call. Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate fought against Packers defensive end M.D. Jennings to catch a ball in the end zone, but it was unclear whether Tate had full possession. The ref called that he did, the touchdown went to Seahawks, and the whole nation went up in an uproar. For once, Seattle was in the spotlight, but maybe for the wrong reason.

One man took it upon himself to try and help make amends with Packers fans, who were noticeably sore afterwards. Rudy McCoy-Pantoja, Jr., a neighborhood character who is referred to as “Grandpa Rudy,” rallied several businesses together to deliver a package that would have the effect of saying, “No hard feelings,” about the game.

The package is a collaboration of some of the finest businesses found in Ballard and Fremont. A kringle from Larsen’s Bakery, smoked salmon from Fresh Fish Co., chocolate from Theo’s, beer from Fremont Brewery and other items. Pantoja said there were several players, including the Ballard and Fremont Chambers of Commerce, the Mailbox, Marseille’s Hair Salon, Bop Street Records and more.

At first Pantoja wanted to send the package to Green Bay, but Mayor Jim Schmitt rejected the offer, saying he appreciated the gesture but that they didn’t accept gifts during the regular season. Then Pantoja looked at a map and picked out the town of Delevan. Mayor Mel Nieuwenhuis, not one to refuse smoked salmon, took Pantoja up on the favor.

Wisconsin-based GazetteXtra.com interviewed the mayor and asked him if the package would make up for the botched call. “No,” he replied. “But it might ease the pain.”

Nieuwenhuis said he wanted to bring the package, which was sent out last week, to Tuesday night’s city council meeting. “It’s for the public,” he said.

He was also excited about the opportunity to highlight his town’s businesses and to connect with people in Seattle.

In return, Nieuwenhuis is delivering to Seattle goods from his own town. Cheese from Brick Street Market, Andes Candies, apple wine from the Apple Barn Orchard and Winery, and venison steaks from one of the mayor’s bow-hunting trips.

And to wash all that down, the mayor is including a 12-pack of Miller High Life.

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