Toddler gets belated holiday surprise as sailor father returns home

FREDERICKSBURG, PA (WHTM) – A toddler received quite a special belated holiday surprise Thursday in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania: her father, who had been deployed for 7 months, came home to see her.

The emotional reunion took place at Northern Lebanon High School, the alma mater of Navy Petty Officer Brandon Hitz.

When Brandon Hitz deployed, his daughter Mila gave her father her toy dog to hang onto.

Mila was also very happy to see the dog again.

Hitz’ mother, Lauri-Jo Folmer, organized the reunion.

“You could see in her face she was shocked that he was here, so it’s great. It’s great having him home,” she said.

Hitz will be stateside for the next 4 years, but he could deploy again after that. For now, however, the family has multiple celebrations planned. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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