It was a heartwarming homecoming for one of the youngest victims of the Sutherland Springs shooting. Six-year-old Ryland Ward finally returned home after spending nearly 70 days in the hospital since the shooting.
Several strangers united along Highway 87 to see someone they’re calling a miracle child. La Vernia resident Renee Anderson stood along the highway with her family.
"He has been through a lot," she said. "He is a special little boy. We just wanted to come out and support him and his family."
Ryland's great-aunt Nancy McMahan was at the entry point ready to capture the big moment. She said they're overjoyed he is home.
Stockdale firefighter Rusty Duncan made the promise to Ryland to take him home in the fire truck.
"He was anxious to get in the fire truck,” Duncan said. “Once he did, it was a lot of fun.”
The firefighter rescued Ryland from First Baptist Church after he was shot five times. Since then, the two have bonded.
"He was just amazed, I think, of all the people, the police, EMS, everything," Duncan recalled. "He had a lot of fun. He wanted to go faster and wanted the siren to be louder and wanted me to blow the horn more."
The family is grateful for the love and support.
"Something great is going to come from this, and we just want to bless him and that he continues in his life," his great-aunt said. “And above all thank God."
This was a journey home that not only meant a lot for Ryland but meant a lot to an entire community.
"Welcome home Ryland," Doris Henderson said. "God bless you. We are all praying for you and your family."