Friends and family of wounded soldier Joel Kalka, have been waiting for months for his return.
Today, they waited again at the airport gate to finally welcome him home.
Joel’s mother Jodi said “[It’s] marvelous, beyond words, cant express how we feel.”
Kalka was injured while serving his first tour of duty in Iraq.
On December 29th, the HUMVEE he was riding in was hit with an improvised explosive device.
The soldier’s mother waited on word from the army about her son's condition.
Jodi Kalka added, “Near anxiety just not knowing, not being able to be with him was my biggest thing, and not being able to be with him, that just really tore me apart.”
A piece of shrapnel went through Kalka's eye, and his left arm was shattered.
He was first treated at a Baghdad hospital and was airlifted to Germany.
He has been recovering at Walter Reed for more than a month and his family was with him from the first possible moment.
Joel’s grandmother Juanita Searfross has anxiously awaited her grandsons return. She said, “He happened to have a cousin who was in the army stationed in Germany and he actually got to go over and see Joel in the hospital.
Kalka says it is with his family’s support that he has been able to able to heal.
And today, his family pulled through again.
Joel said, “I expected maybe a few relatives to show up, but not this many, so it was really good to get to see them all at one time, it really makes me feel good.”
While Kalka's family is relieved that he has returned home, his grandmother says she is waiting again; this time to see if her grandchild’s sacrifice will pay off.