A hero's welcome for injured soldier from Exeter

FRESNO, Calif.

K.C. arrived from Walter Reed around 3:30 Saturday. About 40 people greeted him at the terminal. And for most -- it's the first time in nearly a year, they've seen him walk.

Friends and family could hardly wait to see K.C. Mitchell emerge from the terminal at Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

When the moment finally arrived, the 25-year-old--walked out like a new man.

"Seeing him come back like this is very hard, but it's good to see him walking instead of in a wheelchair," K.C.'s sister Kellsey Kyle said.

Last April, an improvised explosive device detonated under K.C.'s humvee while he was serving for the United States Army in Afghanistan.

Since then, K.C. has been in and out of Walter Reed Military Hospital recovering from his injuries.

This is video of him back in June during a visit home to Exeter. Ultimately though, doctors couldn't save his lower left leg.

In September, K.C. underwent amputation surgery. And, just weeks later, he was fitted with a prosthetic. This is the first time he's been home since.

"Feels good. Kinda makes it a little bit easier on my family seeing me like this. It's been hard. I've been through a lot of surgeries and just happy to be up on my feet finally again. Long road, but I'm finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel," Mitchell said.

K.C. says he looks forward to spending the holidays at home with loved ones, including his wife of five months, Malori, and their 10-month-old daughter Skyree.

And while Christmas is still weeks away, this group says-the celebration has already begun.

"Can't say how proud we are of him and all those over there laying it down for us to do this kinda stuff and enjoy the holidays and this is the best Christmas anyone can ask for." K.C's dad Rowdy Kyle said.

K.C. will return to Walter Reed next month, where he will undergo more surgeries.

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