'Made it back home:' 87-year-old Korean War veteran wins battle with COVID-19

HOUSTON -- After more than two-and-a-half months in the hospital, an 87-year-old Korean War veteran from Houston has beat coronavirus COVID-19 and reunited with his children three days before Father’s Day.

Agustin Ayala tested positive for COVID-19 in late March.

“He went into respiratory failure, and doctors called us and said get your things, and so we panicked,” said his son Julian Ayala.

The once healthy active grandfather and dad found himself on a ventilator fighting for his life.

“He made a turnaround on the machine and started getting his breath back, and the doctors immediately called and said, ‘You’re not gonna believe this, but your dad’s regaining his breathing strength,” said Julian.

After two and a half months in the hospital, Augustin returned to his home in the Houston Heights Thursday and found all four of his children there to celebrate his return to health.

“Made it back home,” said Agustin, hugging his children.

“After two and a half months, Dad, we’re so happy to have you back home,” said Julian. “You have no idea”

“At times I was seeing the devil through the crack in the wall, but someone held my hand and pulled me out,” said Agustin.

“This Father’s Day means a whole lot, because he’s gonna be home with us,” said Agustin’s son Danny Ayala.

“We’ve been fighting and fighting and crying and praying, and here he is, and they told us a month and a half ago that they didn’t think he was gonna make it,” said his daughter.

“You compared having the coronavirus as the same as being in war,” Julian said to his dad.

“Just about, because you’re fighting for your life,” said Agustin.

He believes his weekly gym routine helped spare his life.

“I give some credit for going to the gym two or three times a week,” said Agustin.

“You can beat this thing, but it’s gonna take a lot of courage and a lot of help and a lot of prayer,” said Danny.

And all that family support doesn’t hurt either.