By CBS3 Staff

BLACKWOOD, N.J. (CBS) — More than a hundred local soldiers are back home with their families — just in time for the holidays. It was a moment 10 months in the making on Sunday night in Blackwood. National Guard soldiers with the First 11th Infantry received a hero’s welcome.

“All of them came back better fathers, mothers and soldiers than you gave me at the beginning of the year,” one soldier said.

They spent almost all of 2019 in East Asia while their families waited anxiously for their safe return.

“There aren’t words because they give up so much,” a family member said.

First responders escorted soldier Taj Lumanog to his mother’s home in Willingboro to surprise her.

For those hundred-plus families, it was a night and a gift they’ll never forget.

For one family, the celebration is just getting started.

“All of his brothers are coming home this week so he has two other brothers who aren’t home yet. They’ll be home by Saturday,” one family member said. “Just to be together and to laugh and talk — a lot to be thankful for.”