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'I get a second life': Houston firefighter back home after 4-month COVID battle that destroyed his lungs

Wayne Davis had been hospitalized at Memorial Hermann Hospital where he needed a double lung transplant to save his life.

HOUSTON — Houston Fire Department firefighter Wayne Davis returned home to his family Friday afternoon following a four-month hospital battle with COVID-19.

His family, friends and fellow firefighters gathered outside the hospital in anticipation of his release. Davis passed through a cheering crowd before climbing into the HFD rescue truck that he used to work in.

"For a department that's been so devastated by COVID, this is a certainly ray of sunshine for us and it's a blessing for firefighter Davis and his family," HFD Chief Sam Pena said.

Davis had been a patient at Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center since September. Back then, his wife Caitlin Davis told us her husband needed a bilateral lung transplant. The brutal virus had destroyed his lungs.

"I'm an example of what happens if you don't get vaccinated," Davis said. "I'm going to get to be with the family for Christmas and it's real important to me."

The father of three got that transplant and nearly died afterwards, but he pushed through and fought to recover.

"I had to spend 113 days in the hospital and I don't wish that upon anyone."

RELATED: 'COVID-19 destroyed his lungs' | HFD firefighter, father of 3, needs transplant to survive

His wife calls him a warrior.

"He just continues to persevere and fight thru it for his family to get home. That's what mattered most."

"I get a second life, if you will," Davis told us. "I get to see my boys grow up and hopefully I get to walk my daughter down the aisle."

When he couldn't be there for his daughter's first day of kindergarten, Davis' HFD crew stood in for him. They were there again Friday to take him home in his rescue truck.

RELATED: Daughter gets special escort to first day of kindergarten as dad fights COVID-19 in hospital

"They said 'We can take you home in an ambulance. He said 'No, I want to go home in my truck,'" Caitlin said.

Davis was first diagnosed with COVID in August. His wife said he had put off getting vaccinated for months. Before leaving the hospital, Davis and his three children, ages 13, 11 and 5, all received their first COVID vaccines.

“After my experience, I know the importance of getting vaccinated. I want to ensure that I am protected, along with my family. I also want my children to know just how important the vaccine is, that’s why I wanted us to get vaccinated as a family,” said Davis.

The fight isn't over, yet.

Davis will continue to go to rehab until he is fully recovered.

We asked his wife what he plans to do his first night back home. She said they plan to eat Italian food from his favorite spot in Cypress and catch up on Netflix shows with the kids.

Davis released a statement Friday evening thanking Memorial Hermann and his brothers and sisters at the Houston Fire Department.

“I’m grateful for the Memorial Hermann nurses, doctors and additional staff for how attentive they were to me and my family,” Davis said in a statement. “My family has told me how amazing the care staff has been. The attention they give you is outstanding. If I needed anything, they provided it for me. Behind the scenes, the firefighters have been extremely supportive. They’ve helped my family around the house and have been an important part of my recovery.”

RELATED: Two firefighters from different departments fighting COVID-19 in same hospital

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