PARAMUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – There was a touching homecoming Tuesday for a young boy seriously hurt in a New Jersey school bus accident.
Family, friends and members of the community greeted his as he arrived home from the hospital.
As CBS2’s Elise Finch exclusively reported, Chewy the dog was the first to welcome Brendan O’Callaghan when he returned early Tuesday afternoon. High-fives and hugs from relatives and friends quickly followed, because it seemed like the entire community was happy to see the little boy recover.
“He was in the hospital for quite a long time… So I think it was a good idea for people to come and be with him,” said friend Arya Yafar.
“I visited him multiple times in the hospital. It’s great to see him return home,” Paramus Police Officer Benjamin Fox said.
Asked how he felt, O’Callaghan replied, “happy that I’m home.”
O’Callaghan was one of more than 40 students and chaperones from East Brook Middle School involved in a deadly school bus crash earlier this month. He’s still recovering from a host of serious injuries.
“He has skull fractures healing, we’ll have to deal with his nose at one point, which was broken, his collar bone was broken, he had a pneumothorax on his lung and some rib contusions,” his mother, Jackie, said.
The 11-year-old is an avid sports fan, so he was thrilled when New York Giants’ linebacker Romeo Okwara dropped by to wish him well and deliver a few gifts. He was also pleased when he watched a video message from his favorite hockey player, New York Rangers’ goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
“I can’t believe that he sent me a message. Thank you so much, Lundqvist,” he said.
“I think he’s going to look at that video about a million more times,” said his father, Arnie.
O’Callaghan said he’s a little overwhelmed by all the people stopping by to welcome him home, but he’s also grateful.
“I really appreciate everything that everybody is doing,” he said. “It makes me feel happy and special.”
Arnie and Jackie O’Callaghan said a full recovery for their son is expected to take a very long time. They’re just happy his healing will now continue at home.
The parents said they’re thankful and thrilled their child is home from the hospital, but they’re praying for his classmates who are still there and for all the children and parents traumatized by the horrific crash.