Riverwalk victim out of hospital, returns home to Edgefield

Wesley Spires (WRDW-TV)

Wesley Spires (WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, June 18, 2013

EDGEFIELD, S.C. (WRDW) -- Just one month and 15 days later, Wesley Spires is home.

"You know, it's something we've been looking forward to for quite some time now, and I'm so happy that it's finally happening," said Spires' cousin, Miller Thompson.

Spires doesn't want his face shown, but just after noon on Tuesday, he pulled up to his mother's home in Edgefield County. Signs inside the garage welcomed him with sweet messages.

"Well, we're excited," Thompson said. "These signs actually came from a Vacation Bible School that our church had last week, so it's great to see the support even from the kids. They know how much this moment means."

On May 3, after First Friday, Spires and now-girlfriend Ashley Solesbee were on their first date when they were attacked on the Augusta Riverwalk. A Richmond County Sheriff's Office report says both were hit repeatedly by two men with metal pipes or bats. Both attackers were caught and jailed, but the two victims were left with the tough battle of healing both physically and emotionally.

"He's doing exceptionally well," says his cousin. "I think he's doing better than most people expected."

As for Solesbee, she's out of the hospital, too. She spoke with News 12 just days after the beating. Spires, though, still has a ways to go, but now, he'll be surrounded by friends and family back home.

"He's brought me a lot of joy," said his mother, Gladys Spires. "We've had probably some ups and downs, as most normal parents and children might have sometimes, but I love him, and I know he loves me."

Of course, in the back of both his mom and cousin's minds is all the giving from the community that's offered so much support to the volunteer firefighter.

"Things like the attack really show the evil in the world, but then you also get to see all the good. I think in this situation, the good has definitely outweighed what happened," Thompson said.

Spires is self-employed and doesn't have health insurance. His mother says the donations have certainly helped.

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