Oklahoma City Thunder Home for the Holidays Surprise

Two families of Oklahoma National Guardsmen deployed to Afghanistan were surprised at halftime of the Thunder-Orlando Magic game on Christmas night when the soldiers walked onto the court during a halftime ceremony honoring families who support loved ones serving in the military.

The Thunder provided limousine service to the guardsmen’s families, transporting them from Ardmore, Midwest City and Oklahoma City. The families were asked to attend and represent the thousands of families who support the men and women of the military, particularly the National Guard. Currently more than 3,000 Oklahoma National Guard troops are deployed to Afghanistan and Kuwait, many missing a chance to be with their families on Christmas.

During the halftime ceremony, the families watched holiday video greetings from their guardsmen who thanked them for their support and wished them a merry Christmas.

Both families were then joined by Thunder mascot Rumble the Bison for a group photo on the court. As the photo was being taken, the guardsmen walked out to surprise their families.

Following the surprise, the families watched the second half of the game from one of the Thunder’s Terrace Suites. Each of the guardsmen, who are from the 45th Infantry, was given a personalized Thunder jersey with the number 45.

The Colcord Hotel in Oklahoma City provided rooms for the guardsmen on Christmas Eve and then for each family to spend Christmas night following the game.

Staff Sgt Robert Nixon, Midwest City
45th Infantry, Oklahoma National Guard
Deployed to Afghanistan since June, 2011

Civilian job: 9th Grade Physics and Chemistry Teacher at Harrah Public Schools Used to be 7th & 8th grade girls basketball coach.
Family attending: 9 (including him)
Wife: Cheri
Children: Daniel (10), Joshua (6) Grace (3)
Her parents: Curt and LaDonna Griggs from Ardmore
His parents: Gaylon and Mary Nixon from Midwest City


SGT Jose Dozal Oklahoma City
45th Infantry, Oklahoma National Guard
Deployed to Afghanistan since July, 2011

Civilian job: Works for National Guard
Family attending: 9 (including him)
Wife: Carrie (former member of the National Guard, served with her husband in Iraq in 2008. Left when their daughter was born.)
Children: Bradyn (5) Arabella (2)
His parents. Leticia and Luis Dozal from Oklahoma City
His sisters Maria and Jackie and nephew Jacob (4)