Military men and women friends and family lined up at the Lebanon, N.H., airport to welcome a Vermont guard soldier.
"This is a good gift, this is a great gift," Laurie Ingalls said.
Sgt. Ed Matayka is home.
"He's going to show every soldier that gets injured-- I can do this," said Ingalls, Matayka's mother-in-law.
Matayka was on a convoy down a road in Afghanistan when the military vehicle he was riding in hit a massive bomb buried beneath the road. The blast killed the driver, Specialist Ryan Grady, and wounded four other Vermont soldiers, Matayka most critically.
"When he was driving he always took crap from me-- he's going to be missed sorely," Matayka said.
"I just knew it was bad," said his wife, Sgt. Karen Matayka.
She was also serving in Afghanistan when the blast happened. She was at her husband's side almost immediately.
"I didn't want to leave his side," she said. "I remember thinking, what did we do to deserve this? I know he wouldn't want me to think that, but I just sat there and cried and cried and cried."
Ed Matayka doesn't remember anything about that day. He woke up 6 weeks later. He lost his legs, suffered spinal fractures, organ damage, a massive brain bleed and a stroke. He credits love and support for his recovery.
"We had plans when we got back that we wanted to have kids and that kept her going and it kept me going too," he said.
Ed Matayka has been undergoing 5 months of therapy with the goal of returning to Vermont this week to welcome his fellow Vermont soldiers at their homecoming. And one in particular-- a soldier named David Schwerer-- whose nickname is Squirrel. He's the Vermont soldier who saved Matayka's life in the field.
"I want to thank him myself," Matayka said. "I was not doing too well that day."
Reporter Darren Perron: Did he save your life?
Ed Matayka: There's no doubt-- no doubt in my mind.
"I'm so happy he's here," Karen Matayka said. "And so happy we can grow old together."
Ed Matayka will be in Vermont for the next five days. During that time his unit will return, though a specific date has not been released. After the homecoming, Matayka will return to Virginia for further treatment.
Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:52 PM EDT2014-04-17 03:52:17 GMT
The Stowe Police Department is currently investigating the untimely death of two adults. Stowe Police responded to 262 Cady Hill Road at 4:38 p.m. and discovered deceased individuals. The Stowe PoliceMore >>
The Stowe Police Department is currently investigating the untimely death of two adults.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:49 PM EDT2014-04-17 03:49:04 GMT
Major flaws were uncovered in the Burlington School Budget that failed at the polls. An audit has discovered that the district was making huge errors when budgeting for next year. What this means, is thatMore >>
Major flaws were uncovered in the Burlington School Budget that failed at the polls. An audit has discovered that the district was making huge errors when budgeting for next year.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:53 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:53:47 GMT
Teamwork between a Montgomery farmer and a corporal with the Franklin Country sheriff's department may have saved a life when they pulled off a daring rescue. A woman became trapped in her truck tryingMore >>
It was a lifesaving rescue in the nick of time. A Franklin County sheriff's deputy put his life on the line to save a woman trapped in a truck with floodwaters raging around her. More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 7:00 PM EDT2014-04-16 23:00:55 GMT
After this week's whirlwind weather events and major flooding Tuesday, Governor Shumlin (D-Vermont), VTrans and state transportation officials held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the aftermath. ShumlinMore >>
After this week's whirlwind weather events and major flooding Tuesday, Governor Shumlin, VTrans and state transportation officials held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the aftermath.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:02 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:02:05 GMT
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York. The governor made the declaration Tuesday night. It covers six counties in northeastern of New York, including two inMore >>
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:21 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:21:46 GMT
A body found near the North Hartland Dam appears to be that of a missing man from New Hampshire. Michael Hayward, 42, of Sunapee, disappeared two months ago. His car was found near the Quechee Gorge. PoliceMore >>
A body found near the North Hartland Dam appears to be that of a missing man from New Hampshire.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 7:14 PM EDT2014-04-16 23:14:24 GMT
Authorities say six people managed to escape a house fire in Plattsburgh Tuesday morning. First responders say when they arrived at 42 Smith Street, the house was completely engulfed in flames. CityMore >>
Authorities say six people managed to escape a house fire in Plattsburgh Tuesday morning. Police say the blaze was sparked by a child playing with a lighter.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:07 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:07:50 GMT
Police in Haverhill, N.H., say they got numerous calls about a young child walking down a road alone. They found the child about a mile from her home. She was brought back to the residence, but the NewMore >>
Police in Haverhill, N.H., say they found a young child alone about a mile from her home.More >>