There was anticipation in the air, as Wayne Finn's family members and friends crowded around the entry of the Roma airport, awaiting his return.
Wayne Finn and wife, Sherry, were on the midday flight from Brisbane to Roma, which marked Wayne's first journey home since his accident in March, a devastating truck roll-over that left him confined to a wheelchair.
"You can't imagine the feeling right now,” said Sherry's sister Edna Walker, as the plane touched down on the tarmac.
"It's been nine months too long and seeing him today will be great,” she said.
"I have worked with Sherry and Wayne for many years. Them being so far away and not being able to see him all the time has been really tough on everyone,” Joanne Liston added.
"It will be a touching moment when he walks through those doors, we've all been so concerned for him over the months. Plus we've missed him terribly at work,” colleague Chris Lawson said.
There was a hush as Wayne was spotted across the tarmac, and he entered to thunderous applause from the twenty strong crowd.
Wayne's smile was infectious as his family and friends embraced him, the man they had waited so long to see. Words of support were exchanged, and a friend brought Wayne his favourite baked goods to sweeten his welcome home.
Wayne returns from a nine-month recovery period at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, in Brisbane, where he received extensive occupational and physical therapy for his injuries.
Sherry Finn remained by his side throughout his journey, resigning from her job to care for him.
"I can't explain it, I was nearly crying on the plane,” Sherry said.
"And to see everyone here, all our friends and family, it's been too long.
"A big thanks goes out to the spinal unit and the airport people that helped us through everything today.
"I'm so happy we have made it home for Christmas. We will be spending it with family and friends at home, which will be excellent after the long time away.”
The atmosphere was jubilant as Wayne's grandson wheeled him through the airport.
"It was terrifying to touch down when the plane sounded like that one,” Wayne laughed.
"But it really is great to be home.”
A GoFund me page for the Finn family can be found at www.gofundme.com/ waynes-recovery.
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