Relatives of Army Specialist Justin Willis gathered at Port Columbus International Airport on Sunday to wait for him to return home.
"We're excited to get him back home," said his father, Chris Willis.
His wife, Kristina, was holding their 10-month-old daughter, Cora, just beyond the concourse security checkpoint. The Knox County soldier left for Afghanistan two days after Cora was born.
"He doesn't really know her, so I'm excited for them to meet," Kristina Willis said.
Daughter Kylee held a sign that read "Out of My Way," expressing how eager she was to see her father again.
Kristina said she had been able to talk with her husband about every other day during his deployment either through Skype or over the phone. She said it was a comfort to her and her girls, but nothing like what they were waiting for Saturday afternoon.
"When you're in the moment, it feels like it's taking forever. But looking back now, (the time) kind of flew by, having both of the kids and stuff," Kristina said.
She and her daughters greeted Spec. Willis with smiles and hugs when the moment arrived.
"Feels good. It was hard coming through the gates and seeing all the family again after almost a full year, but it was good," Justin Willis said.
His mother and father also received their share of hugs. Sad for the time lost, away from his loved ones, but thankful for the days ahead together.
The Willis family told that Justin was at least the fourth generation to serve in the U.S. Armed Services in the past century.
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