"It's just nice not to have to worry about going on the road and worry about it blowing up,” Sergeant Eric Wendt said.
One week ago Wendt returned from a year long deployment to Afghanistan.
"A huge weights lifted off your chest. Now you can worry about family life and your young ones,” Eric said.
For 12 months he drove more than 800 miles, hauling supplies back and forth to troops.
"Oh it was scary because I just had a bad feeling about it this time, just probably because it was such a long time,” his mother Beverly Wendt said.
“It's kinda like car accidents, most the accidents we had over there,” Eric said.
That's an analogy that helped ease everyone's mind until four days before Eric arrived back to Iowa.
“It's probably the worst case scenario for everybody,” Wendt said.
Beverly, her husband, Ed, and two other relatives were hit head on by a car near Council Bluffs.
“I was so excited, we went on a cruise and we wanted to make sure that we were home before,” Beverly said.
She escaped with a broken leg. Ed had some neck injuries and Eric’s grandmother suffered four broken ribs.
“Things like that happen so fast,” Beverly said.
After surgery, doctors said she would be unable to walk for several months. And it meant she would miss Eric's homecoming.
“And I really want to go to the homecoming, because they're a lot more fun then the deployments. And they says we'll see what we can do,” Beverly said.
Wednesday she sat in a chair in her living room, as hundreds of troops arrived in Red Oak. The next day, Thursday the two finally reunited but this time, facing a new challenge.
"I'm trying to come off a deployment and go home to see my parents. Because they took care of everything of mine for a year and now I get to turn around and take care of her,” Eric said.
It’s a job that seems to be a lot easier and worth returning the favor, now that Eric is back on US soil.
“As bad as it is, it could have been a lot lot worse,” Beverly said.
Ed and Beverly aren't the only ones happy to have Eric back in the US. He has a family of his own and his two sons are happy to share moments with dad.
Though they have a long road to recovery, they're hearts go out to the families of the two teenagers killed in the crash.