International President Lonnie R. Stephenson presents Pro Football Hall of Famers Mike Singletary, left, and Jerry Kramer with the IBEW’s Commitment to Excellence Award. Sherilyn Wright, senior executive assistant to the international president, is standing in the background.

President Joe Biden was the headline speaker during the 40th International Convention. But the many football fans in attendance appeared to be just as thrilled by the two men who appeared with International President Lonnie R. Stephenson on Thursday afternoon.

International President Lonnie R. Stephenson holds up the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers gifts he received from NFL legends Mike Singletary and Jerry Kramer.

Stephenson presented NFL legends Jerry Kramer and Mike Singletary with the IBEW Commitment of Excellence Award for their work as goodwill ambassadors for the National Child Identification Program, for which the IBEW has been a longtime supporter. The program distributes identification kits to parents, who fill out personal information about their children and have it ready for law enforcement if they face the unthinkable terror of them going missing or being abducted.

The program was started by the American Football Coaches Association in 1997, about one year after the murder of Amber Hagerman in Arlington, Texas. Police efforts to locate Hagerman, whose body was found four days after she was abducted, were slowed by a lack of fingerprints and DNA information.

Hagerman is the namesake of the Amber Alert, an emergency system that asks for the public’s help when a child is missing, but her murder remains unsolved.

“We have our Code of Excellence,” Stephenson said. “Both of these individuals exemplify that in what they do for their communities and what they continue to do in many ways.

“I really wanted to recognize these two not only because of talent, they’re Hall of Fame players but they’re really Hall of Fame people for what they’ve done through their career paths,” he added. “To this day, they still want to help people.”

Kramer was a five-time Pro Bowl guard in 11 years for the Green Bay Packers, playing for five NFL championship teams and two Super Bowl winners before retiring after the 1968 season. He was the co-author with Dick Shaap of “Instant Replay,” an insider’s account of the Packers’ 1967 season, which is still considered one of the best football books ever written. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

Singletary played for the Chicago Bears from 1981-92 and is regarded as one of the best middle linebackers in NFL history. He was a seven-time all-pro selection and twice was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year, including in 1985, when the Bears went 15-1 and then beat three postseason opponents by a combined score of 91-10, including a 46-10 victory over New England in Super Bowl XX. It is considered perhaps the best team in NFL history.

Singletary was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998 and later was the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. He was a two-time consensus all-American at Baylor University and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

Kramer is a longtime supporter of the ID program and appeared with Stephenson at a Packers game in December 2019, during which the IBEW was honored for its commitment to it.

“I’m a lineman. Like most linemen, I’m a man of few words,” Kramer said, which drew a hearty round of applause from the many journeyman linemen in attendance.

“Most of my life, I’ve tried to be a better person tomorrow that what I was yesterday. I want to close the gap between where I’m at and what I want to become. I’m still doing that at 86 years of age.”

Singletary got involved with the program during the COVID-19 pandemic, when he learned from Kenny Hansmire, the program’s executive director, that children of color are disproportionately abducted.

“There are 10 million families that have received ID kits because of the IBEW,” Singletary said. “To me, that’s outstanding. That’s excellence.”

Both men presented Stephenson with autographed helmets from their respective teams. The International President grew up a Green Bay fan. At the age of 11, he watched the Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys in the legendary Ice Bowl game in his hometown of Rock Island, Ill., making him a lifelong Green Bay fan, he said.

Stephenson added, however, that he developed an affinity for the Bears during the 1985 season, which he spent working in the Chicago area as a journeyman wireman. [Rock Island is on the Mississippi River, about 170 miles from Chicago.]

“I can’t tell Mike and Jerry how much I appreciate their friendship,” he said. “It’s an honor to be on the stage with them.”