WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Dozens of people lined Auburn Road in Huntington's Westmoreland community, holding "Welcome Home" signs.
Freshman Spring Valley High football player Wade Smith suffered a serious health problem in September that nearly claimed his life.
"I've known all the things he's gone through, and no kid our age needs to go through something like that," Smith's friend Mady Scott said.
Smith's body was attacked with a mysterious virus, and he was taken to a hospital in Columbus.
The 14-year-old had to go through several surgeries and a heart transplant.
"No words can explain having my son with me," his father Robert Smith said. "I didn't know he was going to be here a few months ago."
Over the past couple of months, the community has held fundraisers helping with the family with medical expenses.
"It's amazing, the people and the support," Robert said. "It's a community that's second to none."
Friday night, police and firefighters escorted Smith and his parents along the homecoming route. The family didn't know the crowd was waiting for them.
"It means a lot," Wade Smith said. "It really does."
Family and friends are grateful Smith pulled through and is back where he belongs and touched so many turned out to welcome him back.
"It feels amazing," Wade said when asked how it felt to be home.
Doctors gave Smith the green light to go back to school in January with no restrictions. He'll even be able to play sports again.
Smith still has follow-up trips he'll have to make to the hospital over the coming weeks and months.