Colorful signs, waves, and even a few tears greeted Deputy Frank Butler at the Trent Lott Airport Thursday.
There's no disputing that Butler is truly admired and loved in Jackson County
"We love you Frank," friend Melinda Hamilton said.
His law enforcement buddies, friends, kids and other family members packed the tarmac to welcome the father of four home.
Best friend Deputy Robert Zwick found himself pretty emotional when Butler arrived.
"He means the world to me. I was happy," Zwick said.
Though Butler was silent, his gestures spoke volumes. He blew kisses, waved, and even gave the crowd of supporters a thumbs up, as they carried him to the ambulance.
"He has had a lot of things that have happened in his life and he always kept a Christian attitude," Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd said.
The deputy found out he had non-Hodgkins lymphoma a year after Katrina destroyed his home.
"When you hear the C word, it is a blow," Major Michael Robichaux said.
Despite months of chemotherapy in Florida, family members say his condition has gotten worse, and they don't know how much longer he will live.
"It happens to good people, great people, and I can't understand why," Robichaux said.
Knowing his health was fading, Butler wanted to fly home and spend each of his precious days with loved ones. That dream came true thanks to the generosity of South Mississippians, some of whom didn't even know Butler personally.
"When something like this happens, it just seems like everyone comes together for the common good. It's unity. It's unity in the community," Sheriff Byrd said.
"Hang in there Frank. We are praying for you and we love you."
Volunteers also rebuilt Butler's storm damaged home.