The World War II veteran who never misses a Bengals game said it had been his dream to meet one of the players.
Anderson didn’t come empty-handed. He brought Haerr a signed Ja’Marr Chase jersey, a ball signed by the current team and his own signed Ring of Honor jersey.
“You made my day,” Anderson said to Haerr.
“Well you made mine,” Haerr said. “I can say I met one of the best Bengals that played for them!”
The meeting was months in the making.
Earlier this year, a fellow veteran heard Haerr’s story and made it his personal mission.
“All we’re wanting is for some of the guys to come see him,” Paul Brown (no affiliation to that Paul Brown) said outside a home game earlier this season.
Brown stood outside home games at Paycor Stadium for a month and a half, holding a sign detailing Haerr’s wish.
“For what he’s done for this country, we owe him everything,” Brown said.
WCPO, a Cox First Media content partner, first ran a story about Haerr in October. That story aired across the country, where Peggy Taylor-Clark later saw it in Oklahoma.
“I thought, he needs to be able to see the Bengals or meet somebody,” she told TV-station KTEN.
Taylor-Clark called her grandson, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor, who recorded a personal video message for Haerr.
“I saw a video of you on the news with your friend Paul and I appreciate your loyalty to the Bengals,” Taylor said in the video. “Hope we’re making you proud. That’s what we strive to do, but just want to thank you for all your support and your cheering that you guys do over there as you watch the games. Thank you for all that you’ve done for us and I know you’ve lived a life worth living.”
Haerr said he couldn’t believe that Taylor had sent him a video. Still, his dream to meet a player was unfulfilled — until now.
“I was so touched when I saw the story,” Anderson said. “I said, ‘I need to meet this gentleman right here.’”
Not only a legendary quarterback, Anderson spent his first six years in the league in the Army Reserve.
“My dad was in the Navy in World War II,” Anderson said. “If he were alive, he would be 103. He’s met a few Bengals in his day and I wanted you (Haerr) to be able to at least meet an old Bengal.”
Anderson told Haerr it was an honor to meet him.
“He thinks it’s a big deal meeting a Bengal,” said Anderson. “I think it’s a bigger deal for me meeting a hero.”