- Associated Press - Monday, January 5, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - When Alex Kormann received a package of merchandise from the Colts community relations department after his father died, he was touched his favorite team took the time to reach out to him.

When he received a second package a week later, it brought tears to his eyes.

Included was a letter and autographed picture from coach Chuck Pagano.

“I teared up,” Kormann, 17, told The Indianapolis Star (https://indy.st/14d44my ) on Sunday from his home in New Jersey. “I was stunned he’d take the time to respond.”

The letter read:

“I understand that you and I have something in common - a commitment to living in a vision rather than circumstance. Throughout my personal journey with cancer, I have been fortunate to receive many words of encouragement from great people like you. Now, it’s my turn to return the favor.

“I know that your family has faced some challenging times in the loss of your father, Russ, and it has not been the easiest to push through. Tough days are inevitable in any battle that attempts to challenge our family and spirit. Know that it is in these extremely difficult times that your strength is revealed in greater ways than you will ever imagine.

“I know that you are loyal Colts fans, so I am hoping that your family will accept the enclosed autographed photo as a small token of appreciation for your great efforts. Again, thank you for your support. I pray for your family and that you will continue to focus on the vision you have for your lives together, know that the entire Indianapolis Colts family is cheering you on to live out that vision.”

Pagano was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia in 2012, missing much of his first season as the Colts coach but is in remission.

Kormann’s father, Russ, 53, died from renal cancer on Nov. 24. Kormann’s cousin, Tom Habib, sent a letter to the Colts the next day.

Russ Kormann was born in Baltimore and followed the Colts but, unlike many others, continued to follow the team after it moved to Indianapolis in 1984.

“A lot of fans turned their back on the team but my dad said, ‘No way,’” Alex Kormann said.

Alex Kormann grew up a fan of the team as well, attending games whenever possible in the Northeast. He and his father went to their first game in Indianapolis in 2011, and Alex was able to get Peyton Manning’s autograph on a No. 18 jersey.

“I demanded we go early and went down to the tunnel where the players were coming out and (Manning) walked by all the fans,” Alex Kormann said. “I then saw him on the other side of the field signing autographs and ran over there just as he was walking away. But I screamed for him and he came back over, shook my hand and signed my jersey.”

The Kormanns returned in 2012 and Alex added an Andrew Luck autographed jersey.

Those jerseys hang on Kormann’s wall, soon to be joined by the picture of Pagano and his letter.

___

Information from: The Indianapolis Star, https://www.indystar.com

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