Jackson Helps Family at Homeland

Being completely dialed in and connected to Oklahoma City community helps the Thunder in many ways, but most of all, it has created a genuine relationship so that the organization can truly help Oklahomans in need.

The Contreras-Morales family in south Oklahoma City has braved through a difficult year. Juana Contreras, a young mother of four, suddenly became very ill last August. Doctors believe she may have contracted West Nile Virus but she fell into a coma and passed away shortly thereafter. While that in itself was tragic, Theresa Contreras, the children’s grandmother, stepped in to raise six-year old Karina, four-year-old Marysol, three-year-old Fabian and one-year old Jaynie.

Fortunately for Theresa, Thunder guard Reggie Jackson helped her, Karina and Marysol have a wonderful day at a Homeland grocery story, giving them a free $500 shopping trip and an extra gift for a return trip.

“I’m very happy, I’m overwhelmed and it’s like a dream that I got so many things today,” Theresa Contreras said through a translator. “I still can’t believe it.”

When the shopping was all done, Jackson presented Theresa with a gift card for a return trip to Homeland and she almost melted. Tears welled in the hardworking grandmother’s eyes as she hugged Jackson and thanked him and everyone in sight for the huge boost to her family. It was a poignant moment, a real one that Jackson understood deeply.

“You just have memories or times where you struggled or it was hard,” Jackson said. “To see a family like this get a chance to eat and get good meals at home, it reminds back to things in childhood. It’s hard to explain, it was just a magnificent moment.”

Despite a small language gap, and the fact that Jackson wished he had remembered more from those high school Spanish classes, Jackson showed the Contreras-Morales family a fun afternoon. April Mickelson, Karina’s kindergarten teacher at Columbus Elementary School in Oklahoma City, could not have been more pleased with how the day went for Theresa and her grandkids. As the family walked up and down the aisles, Jackson was energetic as Karina and Marysol enjoyed picking out all of the items they wanted.

“He was arranging the basket, he was helping the girls,” Mickelson said. “He was so thoughtful and great with the family. I know they appreciate more than you know. They’re just overwhelmed with the generosity and it has touched their lives.”

Not only did the children have a great time, but so did Jackson. Having been in Oklahoma City and with the Thunder for almost two full years now, Jackson has built his own personal connection with the community. Always being engaged during Rolling Thunder Book Bus and Homeland Fit Clinics, Jackson has always set a great example for the Oklahoma youths whose lives he touches. Above all, he and his Thunder teammates enjoy the opportunity to give back to the community that has welcomed them with open arms for the past five seasons.

“Hearing from other friends (around the NBA), they don’t get to do as much in the community for other teams,” Jackson said. “It’s good to get into the community and help as much as possible. Especially being here, we’re fortunate… I appreciate every second of it and I’m pretty sure my teammates do too.”