Veterans appreciated during local NBA game

Col. Kevin Cavanagh, 940th Wing commander, Tech. Sgt. Derek Miller and Master Sgt. Pedro Villa stand at attention during a recognition ceremony at a Sacramento Kings game in Sacramento, Calif., Nov. 9, 2012. Miller was presented an Air Force Combat Action Medal and Villa received a Purple Heart for their actions during Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shawn Nickel/Released)

Col. Kevin Cavanagh, 940th Wing commander, Tech. Sgt. Derek Miller and Master Sgt. Pedro Villa stand at attention during a recognition ceremony at a Sacramento Kings game in Sacramento, Calif., Nov. 9, 2012. Miller was presented an Air Force Combat Action Medal and Villa received a Purple Heart for their actions during Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shawn Nickel/Released)

Servicemembers, veterans and volunteers hold the American flag during the opening ceremonies and singing of the National Anthem at a Sacramento Kings game in Sacramento, Calif., Nov. 9, 2012. The Kings held a military appreciation night in honor of Veterans Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Robert M. Trujillo/Released)

Servicemembers, veterans and volunteers hold the American flag during the opening ceremonies and singing of the National Anthem at a Sacramento Kings game in Sacramento, Calif., Nov. 9, 2012. The Kings held a military appreciation night in honor of Veterans Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Robert M. Trujillo/Released)

Airmen from Travis Air Force Base rappel to the floor of Sleep Train Arena during a Sacramento Kings game versus the San Antonio Spurs in Sacramento, Calif., Nov. 9, 2012. The Airmen presented the players with the game ball. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shawn Nickel/Released)

Airmen from Travis Air Force Base rappel to the floor of Sleep Train Arena during a Sacramento Kings game versus the San Antonio Spurs in Sacramento, Calif., Nov. 9, 2012. The Airmen presented the players with the game ball. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shawn Nickel/Released)

Servicemembers, veterans and volunteers hold the American flag while the Beale Air Force base color guard presents the colors during the opening ceremonies at a Sacramento Kings game in Sacramento, Calif., Nov. 9, 2012. The Kings held a military appreciation night in honor of Veterans Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Stephanie Lovito/Released)

Servicemembers, veterans and volunteers hold the American flag while the Beale Air Force base color guard presents the colors during the opening ceremonies at a Sacramento Kings game in Sacramento, Calif., Nov. 9, 2012. The Kings held a military appreciation night in honor of Veterans Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Stephanie Lovito/Released)

Col. Kevin Cavanagh, 940th Wing commander, presents Tech. Sgt. Derek with the Air Force Combat Action Medal for his actions in Operation Enduring Freedom at the Sacramento Kings military appreciation game in Sacramento, Calif., Nov 9, 2012. The Kings held a military appreciation night in honor of Veterans Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Robert M. Trujillo/Released)

Col. Kevin Cavanagh, 940th Wing commander, presents Tech. Sgt. Derek with the Air Force Combat Action Medal for his actions in Operation Enduring Freedom at the Sacramento Kings military appreciation game in Sacramento, Calif., Nov 9, 2012. The Kings held a military appreciation night in honor of Veterans Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Robert M. Trujillo/Released)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Sacramento Kings professional basketball team hosted a military appreciation night during a game against the San Antonio Spurs at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif., Nov. 9, 2012.

Two Airmen from the 940th Civil Engineer Squadron reserve unit were highlighted during the event.

Master Sgt. Pedro Villa was awarded the Purple Heart, and Tech. Sgt. Derek Miller was awarded the Combat Action Medal for duty during Operation Enduring freedom while deployed to Afghanistan earlier this year.

"It was important to recognize these Airmen in front of the local community," said Col. Kevin Cavanagh, 940th Wing commander, who presented the medals. "Being at war for so long, people can become desensitized, and this shows them we are still out there with boots on the ground getting the job done."

Cavanagh also conducted the Oath of Enlistment bringing nine new Airmen into his reserve unit.

"I'm ready to be part of this great organization," said Jessica Stout, a local Olivehurst resident and mother of three. "I want to be able to tell my children I did something for our county."

During the opening ceremonies, two Travis Air Force Base Airmen rappelled from the rafters with the game ball while one of their fellow Airmen sang the National Anthem. Throughout the game, military members in the crowd were highlighted on camera and thanked for their service.

Although the Kings were defeated by the Spurs, 97-86, the players said they were humbled by the opportunity to honor the armed forces.

"I know I speak for everybody else when I say without the military there would be no freedom to play basketball," said James Johnson, Kings forward. "I just want to thank you for all the work you put in. It's brave for you all to put that work in and support us, so we're glad we can support you."