Sgt. First Class Norris Galatas was welcomed home by a large crowd at Meridian Regional Airport Saturday night. Galatas, who suffered
life-threatening injuries when a bomb exploded under the vehicle he was driving in Iraq, has undergone numerous surgeries and intensive rehabilitation since April. This was his first time back in Mississippi.
He was welcomed by his wife, Janis, family, friends, and fellow guardsmen, including Mississippi's adjutant general, Maj. Gen Harold Cross, who called Galatas "a true American hero" and praised his spirit and his commitment.
Galatas walked with the assistance of a cane and appears to have lost weight, but looked amazingly well considering the severe injuries he suffered and the long road he has traveled in his battle to recover.
Obviously moved by the welcome he received, Galatas shed tears as he thanked people for their help and prayers.
"I didn't know how much everybody loved me until this happened. I want to thank everybody that's helped Janis while I was gone. It meant a lot that everybody did what they said they would do and help her when things got tough. And she hung in there," said Galatas. "And I never doubted for a minute that the people that said they would be there for her would be there."
"And I thank everybody that prayed for us and for me and for the rest of the people that are still in Iraq. They still need your prayers, because they've still got a long way to go. And till they come home, continue praying for them. That's what gets us through this," Galatas said.
SFC Galatas is scheduled to be home for about a month. He is expected to return to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for more treatment.