VINTON, Iowa -- A family in the town of Vinton is celebrating the holiday season together, and their couldn't have come at a better time.
KWWL's Amanda Gilbert visited Alex Ducharme and her daughters Michelle and Ariel. Alex said the girls asked for something special for this Christmas.
"Michelle said she wanted daddy to be home again and then she made a sad face."
Their dad Matthew has been in the Navy for 9 1/2 years and was recently deployed for about eight months at sea--that is, until this weekend.
At home, the sisters opened up a big present from Santa, with a big surprise followed by a big hug as Matthew popped out of the box.
"I was just happy, it felt good, you know, to hold them for once," said Matthew.
"They were choking you, too. They were hugging him so tight they were choking him," Alex laughed.
It was a gift the girls didn't see coming, and now there's more than just a Christmas tree and ornaments keeping them happy. They're smiling because dad's home for good.
With his last deployment complete, Matthew says he now plans on going to college.