By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Being “home for the holidays” took on a whole new meaning Friday.

Six-year-old Savannah Germain hadn’t seen her brother, Devin, in about a year.

READ MORE: Gophers Will Play West Virginia In Guaranteed Rate Bowl

Devin is a soldier who has been serving in Afghanistan. He returned to Minnesota Friday, but Savannah had no idea he was coming.

Devin says being away from his little sister has been extremely hard.

“First days of schools … athletics, like soccer and tee ball. It’s the first for things, you know,” Devin said. “Watching her, like, grow up and leaving when she was 3 years old was pretty hard for me.”

Devin recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan. Savannah, a first grader at Pine Hill Elementary in Cottage Grove, knows he’s coming back — some day. What she doesn’t know is that Christmas is about to come early.

“I’m hoping she’s as excited as I am. I mean, I’m hoping for a hug, but we’ll see,” Devin said.

READ MORE: First Major Snowfall Brings Avalanche Of Wintery Pics

Finally, at the end of a long school day, there’s a knock on the door. Devin enters Savannah’s classroom and she runs to her big brother. The two hug for several minutes.

For Savannah, having her brother home for the holidays is better than anything Santa Claus could bring her.

“I missed him a lot, and I’m really happy to see him,” Savannah said.

Devin says it was everything he hoped for.

“She just ran to me,” Devin said. “It’s been a long time, so I missed her very much.”

Before he left for the Army, Devin used to spend a lot of time with Savannah, taking her to the park and fishing.

MORE NEWS: State Patrol: 260+ Crashes As Snow Coats Minnesota Roads

Now that he’s back, they plan on doing everything they used to do — together again.

John Lauritsen