MOUNT VERNON, Ohio (WCMH) – A Knox County family is reunited, and a middle school has its principal back.

The Ohio National Guard’s 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team has returned from its overseas deployment.

After months overseas, the Prince family and many others were reunited on Saturday.

“This is why we do what we do and we serve,” Maj. Darin Prince with the Ohio National Guard said. “It’s for them and for our country.”

Darin Prince said the community support from where he works – at Mount Vernon Middle School as its principal – helped make the distance easier.

Tears, hugs, and lots of love welcomed the soldiers from the 37th Infantry Brigade as they walked out the doors at John Glenn International Airport after months being deployed overseas.

“We are just so very grateful that he is back and safe and we can finally have our family back together,” Amanda Prince, Darin’s wife, said.

Darin Prince was deployed before last school year and his school stepped up.

“Not only did they take care of me, and they took care of my family,” he said.

Mount Vernon Middle School helped the Prince family with food and sent care packages to Prince’s brigade.

“It’s a huge task, a huge challenge,” Darin Prince said. “I don’t know how they did it, but I know who they are and how strong they are.”

Those care packages meant a lot to not only Darin Prince, but the others in the brigade as well.

“Whenever you’re 1,000 miles away from your family, it’s always nice to be reminded of home and that’s what those care packages really were,” Sgt. Kylor Kauahi said. “They were a touch of home.”

“I love the care packages,” Staff Sgt. Kirstyn Bonds said. “Love the tiny little handwriting and everything that came with it.”

“Seeing those cards around Christmas time it was awesome,” Specialist Race King said. “Those kids’ signatures you know, made me smile.”

“We all read them, passed them around to each other, we were all laughing, having a good time and that was just super cool,” Specialist Seth Winhoven said. “I really appreciate that.”. 

“Really just raises the spirits for everybody getting that kind of surprise mail,” Cpt. Christopher Harris said. 

Now that the deployment is over, the Prince family gets to enjoy their time together and get ready for the start of the school year.

“People are always thanking us for our sacrifice, but it’s our families that sacrifice the most,” Darin Prince said. “I’m the one who chose to do this thing, and they’re just so tough, so strong.”

“It takes a village and we had the best village,” Amanda Prince said.

The Ohio National Guard said that throughout August, more soldiers from the 37th Infantry Brigade will return home.