After being separated for years, one Virginia military family is coming back together

ROANOKE, Va. (WSLS 10) — A military family from Roanoke, Virginia, separated for years is now coming back together to celebrate Independence Day.

Angela Lancaster and Layci Stone welcome their brother and Master Sergeant Justin Ferris home.

He’s returning home for the first time in four years after being deployed to Okinawa, Japan.

It was an emotional reunion, with Ferris introducing three very special people to his family.

“I just wanted to run, hug him, and meet his family,” said Stone, one of Ferris’ sisters.

During deployment, Ferris married and now has a five-month-old and a two-year-old child.

“I told everybody at work,” said Angela Lancaster, Ferris’ big sister. “Meeting his wife who just made Master Sergeant, both of them serve in the Air Force, my grandfather used to be a prisoner of war, so we’re just totally proud of him. It’s just good to see him come home, see that he’s safe and healthy, and now, he has a whole family.”

Because their time together is short, the family says every moment is precious.

“It was difficult,” said Ferris. “I had two kids during those four years, so to have them grow up without seeing their aunt, cousins, and the rest of their family is difficult.”

With only nine days, the family plans to make up for lost time before Ferris and family return home to Washington.

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