Walters student welcomed home after spending months in the hospital

(Source: KSWO)
(Source: KSWO)

WALTERS, OK (KSWO) - A Walters student received a warm welcome back to school on Friday after spending the past couple months in the hospital. This isn't the first time the school has made sure Austin Benefiel felt loved after he and his family were in a car wreck before Christmas.

Students lined the road to the school wearing orange, his favorite color. They held signs and chanted his name to let him know that they missed him and are glad he's back. Austin liked having his fellow students greet him when he came back and the third grader said he didn't expect it at all. Austin's dad Rocky Benefiel said it was emotional to see all the students out there welcoming his son.

"For him to be happy, makes me happy," he said. "Without that support system, I don't know, how a person would be able to get through."

After he made his way into the school, he excitedly greeted and hugged his teachers and did a few wheelies with his wheelchair in the hallway before giving his former nurses a tour of the school. Austin's principal, Amanda James, said they understand that he's going to have some obstacles and they want him to know that he's not going through this alone.

"We want Austin to know that we're here for him and that anything he needs, we're going to help him out,” she said. “We're going to help him succeed because he's amazing, he's going to succeed no matter what, we just want to help him and make it a little bit easier if he needs it."

During the tour, the kids in his building were ecstatic to see him back at school.

"The kids were all at the door, and trying to jump on each other's shoulders, and they were like 'oh Austin'. It was so cute," James said. "It was just really sweet, and I think it was really good for him."

Rocky says the community has had their backs through one of the roughest times and he's thankful.

"This whole thing from the start has been a nightmare, but with a community like Walters, it's really turned out to be a real blessing," Rocky said.

Austin's dad said they still have a lot of transitioning to do, but Austin will start school on Monday.

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