Host families unsung heroes for Northwoods League players

WAUSAU, Wis.-- For some, Wisconsin Woodchucks games are just a fun Friday activity. For others, the summer is the chance to open up their home to help someone accomplish a lifelong dream.

"Eight years ago the former owner came to us and said would you like to host, and I said sure why not let's try."

Mark Fehrman has been a Woodchucks players host for the last eight years. He’s opened up his home for one SEC team in particular.

"My daughter made this mural for all the Texas A&M players that come through here,” Fehrman explains as he shows his home. “Each year she puts the names and numbers of the boys that are staying with us. Since we have TJ this year, she made him an Alabama one so he didn’t feel bad."

Woodchuck players TJ Reeves and Colson Geisler are both from down south.

Reeves says: "They love their cheese curds, I've never heard of cheese curds until I got up here."

Over the years, Fehrman has had many people come through his home. Something the players are very grateful for.

"It's fun to watch them grow not only as players, but to stay in touch with the families,” Fehrman says.

"He's kind of like a second dad,” says Reeves. “He gives me advice and helps me grow, it's really fun."

For players like Reeves and Geisler, home is hundreds of miles away. It's nice to have families like the Fehrman”s in their corner.

"You're out here on your own,” says Geisler. “So it's nice to have a family out here to make you feel more comfortable and confident."

"It's good to have this support behind you and have people taking care of you the whole summer. It's really just unbelievable what they do, you can't thank them enough."

During the summer, Mark and his players form a bond, ne that lasts beyond the summer.

“We keep track of all the players that come through here with their pictures,” says Fehrman. "I keep in touch with probably six or seven of the kids that came here."

"Obviously I'm going to keep in touch with them (the Fehrman”s) still,” says Geisler. “Even if I'm up here and I need something I know I have people that will help me out. It's a pretty cool feeling."