Ryland Ward, now 6, who was shot in the Sutherland Springs church massacre, will leave the hospital on a fire truck Thursday. From the time I saw his eyes looking up at me inside the church, the whole time his eyes were open looking up at me laying on the ground to the minute I saw him for the first time at the hospital. "He wanted the siren to be louder and he wanted me to honk more", said Stockdale Assistant Fire Chief Rusty Duncan.
Ryland's mother reached out to Duncan soon after he was rushed to the hospital.
Well wishers wave as Ryland Ward, who was shot during a November 5, 2017, church shooting, returns home after his release from the hospital in the cab of a fire engine January 11, 2018, in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Duncan carried him out as quickly as he could and since the shooting he's visited him at a San Antonio hospital on Sunday's. "He walked for me for the first time. Of course with my help, but he walked", he said.
"I came from Canyon Lake to see young Mr. Ward arrive home", Skip Cordes said. "We just had a connection", Duncan said.
Sadly, Ryland's stepmother, Joann Lookingbill Ward, and his two sisters, Brooke Bryanne Ward, 5, and Emily Garcia, 7, lost their lives in the shooting.
"It's just a miracle he survived and is doing as well as he is", Sandy Ward, his grandmother, said. And it wasn't just locals who came to celebrate.
Today, Ryland was discharged from the hospital and was treated with a special ride home in a firetruck. "So I'm happy for him even though I'm crying, I'm happy he's coming home", said Del Bauer who lives near Sutherland Springs.
Ryland has been undergoing multiple surgeries over the past few months, but is finally in a condition to return home. "Total joy. This is our town, this is our family".