Photo courtesy University Health System
By Melissa Chan
January 11, 2018

A 6-year-old boy who survived the Texas church shooting two months ago was released from the hospital Thursday – and he got a hero’s sendoff.

Ryland Ward, the last victim of the Sutherland Springs church shooting to leave the hospital, rode home in a fire truck closely followed by an escort of police officers, hospital officials said.

Pictures show him grinning widely as a slew of firefighters and law enforcement officers greeted him at University Hospital, where he has spent the last two months being treated for five bullet wounds.

“He was very excited,” said Elizabeth Allen, spokeswoman for University Health System in Texas.

Photo courtesy University Health System

Ryland lost his stepmother and two sisters in the tragedy that left him clinging to life. He was shot twice in the left leg, twice in the stomach and once in the left arm, according to his grandmother, Sandy Ward.

After undergoing several surgeries, Ryland has begun to make a full recovery and has started physical therapy, Ward told TIME on Thursday.

“He’s starting to walk again,” she said. “A lot of the wounds are healing up.”

Ryland’s stepmother Joann Ward and his sisters, 5-year-old Brooke Ward and 7-year-old Emily Garza, died in the shooting.

Ryland celebrated his 6th birthday at the hospital this month, as well as the entire holiday season. In a statement, hospital officials said many workers were “touched” by his “strength and spirit.”

“I’m very happy he’s home,” Ward said.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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