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Brad Martin homecoming: 'They put me back together real good'

Family, friends and well-wishers gathered at auto repair shop owned by local man seriously injured in September 2016 Lakeshore Drive collision

No matter what comes next for Brad Martin, he and his family will always be comforted by the outpouring of support that the community has shown for the Martins. Martin was the victim of a collision after a vehicle turned into his path while he was driving his motorcycle on Lakeshore Drive. He was welcomed home Sunday with a party in his honour after being released from hospital "for good."

Ten months after Martin and his family's lives were changed forever by the accident, and after suffering life-threatening brain and leg injuries, he eschewed a wheelchair to greet his guests, instead opting for a walking aid while giving out big hugs and sturdy handshakes. Martin kept moving towards his garage, looking relaxed, with an enormous grin on his face as wave after wave of supporters welcomed him home.

Martin shared words and thanked every guest who approached, saving the biggest hugs and kisses for his grandchildren and other family members, who have also suffered greatly from the terrible accident. Martin's wife Tessie was close by, as she has been throughout the ordeal, giving Brad space, but keeping a close eye as he made his way across the parking lot to the shop door. This was a good day for the family on what has been a turbulent ride as Martin was in and out of the hospital to see specialists.

Martin remarked that he had noticed in his travels while passing by the very spot that his accident took place, that the Dodge dealership had moved. He was also taken aback by all the work being done on the Lakeshore overpass.

Martin, when asked how he was feeling, responded with a wide smile, "Well, I had 11 surgeries, but they put me back together real good."

A couple from Temiscaming, Que., travelled to North Bay to help welcome Martin home. "We have been customers of Brad's since the shop opened," said the wife. "One time we came here and Brad told us, 'You can't drive your van home until it's fixed, it's too dangerous,' and handed us the keys to one of his own vehicles. We are so happy to see him back."

The party was held at Allmakes Auto Service Plus, the decorations read 'Let's Celebrate' and 'Welcome Home,' and that could not have been closer to the truth. Many remarked that the shop is a second home to Brad. Martin has told close friends that he realizes that there will be challenges and adjustments. His goal, he told one well-wisher was "to be here at the shop for the guys and for my customers."