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Thunder notebook: Surprise! I'll be home for Christmas

Two families of Oklahoma National Guardsmen deployed to Afghanistan were surprised at halftime when the soldiers walked onto to the court during a ceremony.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: December 25, 2011
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Two families of Oklahoma National Guardsmen deployed to Afghanistan were surprised at halftime when the soldiers walked onto the court during a ceremony honoring families who support loved ones serving in the military.


The Thunder provided limousine service to the families of Sgt. Robert Nixon and Jose Dozal of the 45th Infantry, transporting them from Midwest City, Oklahoma City and Ardmore. 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. More than 3,000 Oklahoma National Guard troops are deployed to Afghanistan and Kuwait.

The families watched holiday video greetings from their guardsmen, who later walked out to surprise their families.

They watched the second half from one of the Thunder's Terrace Suites, and each guardsman was given a personalized Thunder jersey with No. 45.

The Colcord Hotel provided rooms on Christmas Eve for each family and to spend Christmas night following the game.

IN THE HOUSE

NBA commissioner David Stern was in attendance but not introduced. Stern left with 4:53 remaining and the Thunder leading 87-72. He flew back to Colorado, where his family spent the holidays. Stern attended the Heat-Mavericks game in Dallas earlier in the day.

Midwest City High School product and Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star Matt Kemp sat in the front row, was introduced during a first-quarter timeout and presented a No. 27 Thunder jersey.

Also in attendance were PGA touring pro Scott Verplank and OU women's basketball coach Sherri Coale.

Box score: Thunder 97, Magic 89

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