Carroll County Times
WESTMINSTER, Md. (AP) — Prior to Sunday, the Oxendines had one present underneath their tree. It was a gift that Amanda, 23, bought for her father, which the family was planning to open on Christmas.
By Sunday afternoon, presents overflowed from underneath the Christmas tree that was put up by Jenny and Anthony Oxendine’s 17-year-old son, Arizona. Arizona is a senior at Winters Mill High School, and a member of the wrestling team, which is more like a family, he said.
After health problems left both parents unable to work, the family decided to have a low-key Christmas this year. That’s when members of the Winters Mill wrestling team took matters into their own hands.
On Sunday, 10 cars packed with teenagers on the wrestling team and their family members pulled up to the Oxendines’ Westminster home. Around 30 people delivered presents and gift cards to the family as they sang Christmas carols.
Santa delivered a miniature Christmas tree with gift cards to everywhere from Panera to Wawa, and teens filed in one by one to hug Jenny and deliver presents.
“Your Christmas wish is here,” Lisa Logue, a fellow parent, said as she hugged Jenny.
Four years ago, Logue said she met John Lowe, the coach of the wrestling team, and he welcomed her to a new family. The boys from the wrestling team spend every day together, said Winters Mills senior Wes Cook.
Wes has known Arizona since the two played football together at the ages of 5 and 4, the two said.
“We’ve known each other forever. We take care of each other,” Wes said.
The wrestling team reached out to other teams, such as the Westminster Wildcats, and received more than $2,500 in gift cards and presents for the family. Everything about the day was a surprise, said Jenny, who expected some baked goods and a bag of candy canes from the Logues.
In October, Jenny had an unexpected liver transplant. She woke up on Oct. 22 and collapsed while getting her coffee. She went to the emergency room and was immediately put on the top of the list for a transplant. By Oct. 23, she had a new liver and regained consciousness just before her 40th birthday a few days later.
After that, Anthony developed a drug-resistant infection in both of his legs while he was working at Ron’s Automotive Collision Center. Though Jenny receives partial disability, neither parent is able to work at the moment.
“We were just going to kind of do Christmas differently (this year),” Jenny said.
Since October, the family has seen an overwhelming amount of support, Jenny said. Arizona has been able to make it to wrestling practice on a regular basis and keep up his routine. Friends and family provide dinner regularly for the Oxendines and even paid for a cleaning service for the family, Jenny said.
“I don’t even know the words to describe it,” Jenny said. “It’s a joyful overwhelming feeling . It runs deep.”
Information from: Carroll County Times of Westminster, Md., http://www.carrollcounty.com/
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)