The circumstances surrounding an individual soldier’s homecoming are always unique, but the resulting emotions are often the same.
Joy. Relief. Excitement. Love.
For Lori, Brandee, Baylee, Cy and Mylee Curtis, add one more emotion to the list: shock.
The Curtis family thought they were being recognized on the field of the Oklahoma/Iowa State football game on Saturday afternoon on behalf of their husband, father and grandfather, First Sergeant David Brian Curtis of the United States Army National Guard. After all, the University of Oklahoma and Patriot Ford recognize one such “Patriot of the Game” several times a year at OU home football games.
What the family wasn’t aware of was that Patriot Ford, the University and First Sergeant Curtis had an extra surprise hid up their sleeves.
A native of Eufaula, Okla., First Sergeant Curtis has served his country for over 23 years as a member of the U.S. Army National Guard. During his service, he has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal, two Meritorious Achievement Medals, three Army commendations and three Army Achievement Medals.
First Sergeant Curtis’ unit has been deployed to Afghanistan and has been responsible for the closure of multiple bases in preparation for handover to the Afghani government. His unit recently closed the largest Forward Operating Base to date, and he was slated to return home to his family in several weeks.
The Curtis family took the field midway through the second quarter for the “Patriot of the Game” segment. After hearing a list of First Sergeant Curtis’ achievements, the stadium turned their attention to the video boards for a special message from Curtis himself.
“I want to thank Patriot Ford and the University of Oklahoma for this tremendous honor,” First Sergeant Curtis said in the video. “I also want to tell my wife and my entire family that I love them, I miss them, and I’ll see you in a few weeks. Sooners, go hang a half a hundred on ‘em. Boomer Sooner.”
After being recognized by the public address announcer in front of a stadium filled with 80,000-plus fans, Lori and her family thought their time on field was done. Little did they know, however, that First Sergeant Curtis was about to come cruising onto the field on the famed Sooner Schooner and turn a good day into a great day for the entire Curtis family.