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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It was a surprise welcome for a Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Chief who served a year of duty in the Middle East.

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After a year in the Middle East naval reservist and Fort Lauderdale Fire Division Chief John San Angelo is finally home.

Not only were his wife and children there, so were members of his fire department family. For them, it’s been a tough year without him.

“I’m happy to be home,” said John.

“I’ve been doing it by myself but we try to support my husband but we are really proud of him,” said John’s wife Julie San Angelo.

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In the naval reserves, John would try to communicate with his family almost every day online but not having their dad has been hard.

“I wanted to go to the pool with him…we have been missing stuff with him,” said his daughter Mia.

Like birthdays, anniversaries, trick or treating and for 11-year old Joey his golf tournaments.

“Everything. I can’t make a list,” said Joey. “I love my dad, just want to see him again”

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There was supposed to be a water canon salute but the pilot missed the turn. No matter! Total strangers snapped photos and thanked John for his service.