A Westport firefighter deployed for a year with U.S. forces in Afghanistan has returned safely to the fold.

Firefighter Pete Nichio, who served with a National Guard motor transport unit, was welcomed back to the Fire Department this week with a ceremony during which the Blue Star Service Flag, flown during his overseas deployment, was taken down.

"I am overjoyed to be back with my family, which includes the brotherhood of the Westport Fire Department," Nichio said in a statement issued by the department.

"Looking up and seeing that flag reminded us of Pete on a daily basis and of the sacrifices he was making for us all," Fire Chief Arthur Kingsbury said in the statement. "We are blessed to have him home again."