He was the guest everybody in the Carter family was waiting for and he was welcomed home from the hospital with hugs, gifts — even a visit from Santa Clause.

Jeremiah Carter, who was seriously injured cutting down a Christmas tree on Thanksgiving Day, rehabbed three hours every day in the hospital hoping to get permission for a brief Christmas field trip.

“It was a huge motivational factor,” Carter said.

The Auburn algebra teacher fell off a 40-foot bluff, suffering broken ribs and shattered vertebrae.

“They worked a miracle saving him,” Carter’s father Randy said. “We’re glad to have him.”

They’re not the only ones.

When students at Carter’s school heard what happened, they rallied behind him. They raised $15,000 to help make his house wheelchair accessible. His brothers have been working round the clock to renovate his home.

The support was so overwhelming that Carter felt obliged to deliver a message.

“I want to thank all of my students and everyone at my school and everyone in the Auburn community and my family for all they've given,” Carter said. “It means the world to me.”