Alexis Bellar sat in her father’s arms wearing his National Guard uniform hat, but wearing an even bigger smile while two older brothers stood around in disbelief.
Staff Sgt. Jason Bellar had just returned home.
Bellar surprised his three children following the third inning of the RedHawks’ game against the New Orleans Zephyrs on Tuesday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, returning from a nine-month tour in Afghanistan to help them win an on-field promotion.
“More than anything else, just to be able to go home with them tonight and knowing I am able to be with them the next couple of weeks is awesome,” he said.
Troyce, 9, Logan, 6, and Alexis, 4, were involved in a between-inning promotional game of tug of war with the RedHawks’ mascots Cooper and Ruby. Jason then appeared from the RedHawks‘ dugout to guide them to a victory.
It just took a moment for them to recognize who was behind them in full uniform. But once they did, emotions ran wild as the crowd gave them a standing ovation.
“Amazing,” Jason said about the hugs. “Words can’t even describe how good they were.”
Jason, a 29-year-old who is stationed at Fort Sill and lives in Moore, returned from Kandahar, Afghanistan, last week and spent the time at Fort Bliss, Texas, before returning to Oklahoma on Tuesday.
He even spoke via phone to his children Monday night, though they believed he wasn’t coming home until 10 days later.
“I tried to talk to them like I normally did,” said Jason, who last saw his family on Oct. 9. “I didn’t want to change anything or give any surprises away.”
He and his wife Christina kept his arrival secret from their kids until his appearance at the game.
“It was nerve-wracking,” said Christina, who had been planning this since December.
But once it was pulled off to near perfection, everything became right in the world again for Jason’s family.
“I’m hoping that they’ll remember this for the rest of their life, because I’m definitely going to myself,” he said. “It’s overwhelming joy and happiness to see my kids.”