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Home for the holidays: Navy lieutenant commander returns home to St. Johns County after 7-month deployment

American flags were all along Garrison Drive in St. Johns County for Lieutenant Commander William Rowntree Wednesday.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Neighbors and family in St. Johns County started the holiday off with a surprise homecoming for Navy Lieutenant Commander William Rowntree who was deployed for seven months.

“It’s great to see everyone out here saying hello to me I kind of suspect it coming because I know Judie who put this together wouldn’t let me get away easily," Rowntree said.

And he’s right! Judie Klein is Rowntree’s neighbor and Klein says this is the day she’s been waiting for.

“We’re just so happy and excited that he is finally coming home with all the other sailors safely, we missed him so much," Amy Rowntree, William Rowntree's wife said.   

“I could not bring all of our neighbors around to help celebrate with us that he’s home from deployment," Rowntree said. 

Rowntree says this is her husband’s first deployment while they’ve had kids.

“This is the first one where he’s been away from the kids for seven months. It’s the longest period of time away from the kids. so we’re happy to have him home for thanksgiving and for Christmas," Rowntree said. 

Rowntree says this holiday is all about spending time with one another.